Thursday, December 28, 2006

E-Health and E-Patients

by John M. Grohol, Psy.D.
November 9, 2006

You’re going to hear a lot more about these two things in 2007, as companies, doctors and organizations look to help better equip people to have a two-way conversation with their health or mental health professional that treats each person as a relative equal in the relationship.

We’ve all seen the power and reach of Wikipedia, and its success in showing that providing a platform to allow the world to collaborate can be a healthy, positive thing. And while it has had its bumps in its development, they shouldn’t detract people from understanding that the underlying message — empowering people to create and share — is very attractive and viral. Wikipedia has become, for instance, the first place many college students go to start research on a topic.

But along with e-health and giving people more information about their health and health care, there has to be some back and forth with professionals. After spending the past few days with a group of thought leaders in this area, I’d have to say that more and more professionals and doctors are willing to open their minds to a different way of interacting with their patients. And more and more patients are demanding such openness from their doctors.

The doctor-patient relationship is moving from doctor-as-expert to doctor-as-helpful-guide for those who would rather that kind of relationship. Not everyone will. But for those willing to take on a more active role in their health and healthcare, there is a growing rank of doctors willing to change their role. Willing to listen. Willing to help inform and guide where needed, but allowing the patient to really remain in control of their own future and health.

In the next few months, you’re going to see some amazing things online to help people take better control of their health, and to start to engage with their doctors in this new way. To open up the dialogue, and move the conversation from 20th Century medicine into 21st Century medicine. I’ll be writing more about this in the weeks and months to come, but I just wanted to give you a heads-up to be prepared. Because healthcare as you know it is going to change, and it’s going to start now.

Source: Psych Central

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