What Is The Future Of Collaborative Medicine?

Author(s): 
David Edward Marcinko, MBA, CMP, and Professor Hope Rachel Hetico, RN, MHA, CPQH, CMP

   Therefore, some health entities have entire teams that monitor the social media spectrum for their mentions, using monitoring services like Meltwater, Radian6, Overtone, Vocus, Moreover and Google for 24/7 alerts.

   However, because anyone can add good or bad feedback experiences, some entities are seeking to have their patients sign a contract designed to “respect privacy on the Internet” by agreeing not to post personal experiences or participate in online rating services. The ethical and legal ramifications of e-censorship are still emerging.

   In retaliation, some doctors are starting blogs of their own, such as www.MedRants.com and www.GruntDoc.com. Blogging also presents new risks of breaching patient privacy. As blogs proliferate, some practices and hospital privacy officers are considering policies that provide standards for doctors who are engaged in this activity.
In addition, there are Internet security concerns. The “Kneber botnet” virus of January 2010 gathered log-in credentials from infected computers and reported back to hackers. These hackers infiltrated Yahoo, Hotmail and Facebook accounts, as well as pharmaceutical giant Merck and Cardinal Health Inc.

   Finally, beware of HIPAA privacy concerns. Office policy should require patients to give their consent for e-mail through a secure portal with a unique ID and password. Staff should not communicate via regular e-mail to patients. Portals may be integrated with electronic medical records (EMR). As noted on our blog and in our book Risk Management and Insurance Planning for Physicians and Advisors, always consider the potential impact of unintended EMR data breaches on professional liability.5

Is Resistance To Health 2.0 ‘A Generational Thing’?

Eugene Schmuckler, PhD, of Medical Business Advisors, believes most Health 2.0 angst may be more generational than than anything else. Why?

   Today, it is not uncommon to have three generations in a healthcare practice. We have the Baby Boomers, Generation X and now, Generation Y (also known as the Millennial Generation, Echo Boomers or the Trophy Generation). This newest generation of physicians has grown up with the Internet. They “get” the technology but do not always understand how to forge identities as physicians. Consultant Bruce Tulgan opines that Gen Y is going to be “the most high-performing civic-minded workforce in the history of the world, but they are also going to be the most high maintenance workforce in the history of the world.”6

   Gen Y is completely comfortable with Health 2.0 initiatives. Rather than trying to get these people to conform to traditional healthcare business models, they should be empowered to lead the way into the future. On the other hand, some Baby Boomers are saying with sadness, “Medicine sure isn’t want it used to be.” Generation X is saying, “It’s about time things changed.” The latest generation to enter the medical workforce, Gen Y, is saying, “Ready or not, we are here. Get used to it.”

   The era of Health 2.0 is not about controlling or dictating. It is about participation, empowerment and communication. Technology is not an end but the means to sharpen the questions a patient might ask when speaking to a medical professional.

How Will Health 2.0 Impact Podiatrists?

We believe the biggest implication of Health 2.0 for DPMs is through artificial intelligence. For example, soon patients may use a sophisticated search engine to input the following query:

    “I want to find a board certified female podiatric surgeon who’s done at least 100 Austin HAV repairs, who operates every Monday near my house, who takes my insurance at XYZ surgery center, and who has never been sued, speaks Farsi and enjoys playing the flute.”

   Instantly, results would be back with an offer to set up an appointment.

   What is the primary question going forward? Where on the Web do you want to go to interact with others about podiatry related topics? Is the digital podiatric workforce leading or lagging in adoption? Consider the following three potential scenarios.

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