Last week we presented a broad discussion on physician’s use of the technology and the transition towards EMRs. As a follow up to provide further evidence, we dig down a little deeper into how electronic communications is being utilized in the medical profession.
Doctor / patient confidentiality. It is a phrase that is ensconced in our society, to the point where it is a staple in nearly every crime show on television. So critical is the concept though that the use of any new communications methods (i.e. any medium invented in the last 20 years) has been deemed too unsafe to be trusted.
However, this notion may be changing. Manhattan Research recently completed a survey comparing physician specialties with their willingness / comfort / proclivity towards using electronic means to communicate with their patients. Published in their Physicians in 2012: The Outlook on Health Information Technology Report, they determined that use of electronic communications means has risen 16%, specifically in the use of emailing, secure messaging, or instant messaging to patients.
While some veterans of the medical profession would consider this a risk to patients, it should be noted that patients themselves are using electronic means – even social networking – to determine symptoms, health risks and testimonials.
With all this being said, because physicians are held to a higher standard on this matter, the means in which they communicate electronically – similar to the means in which they should be storing information electronically – have to be beyond reproach.