High Tech, High Touch: Why Technology Enhances Patient-Centered Care

We live and practice in an increasingly technology-driven society.
Email and texting are default methods of communication, and our patients
request that we friend them on Facebook and follow health advice
delivered in brief 140-character bursts on Twitter. In a 2008 survey
conducted by the Commonwealth Fund, nearly 90 percent of respondents
indicated they wanted their physicians to communicate electronically.
Patients want high-tech doctors. But they also want more face-to-face
time, more personal connections; let's call it "high-touch" care. The
21st century buzzword is patient-centered care (PCC), defined by the Institute of Medicine
as "care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient
preferences, needs and values." PCC reaffirms the doctor-patient
relationship as a key to improving both clinical outcomes and
cost-efficiency. There exists a common perception, dating back at least
as far back as the Industrial Revolution, that the increasing reliance
of society on technology necessarily furthers human disconnection. In
the evermore complex world we inhabit, how do we reconcile our
high-touch values with our high-tech realities?

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Originally published in the Huffington Post

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