There is no doubt that in our technology driven society, our access to things like social media and advanced tech-toys, have drastically changed the ways in which we operate on a daily basis. Things like video chatting, GPS and 3-D televisions have proven that George Lucas wasn’t far off base when he created Star Wars. It’s only a matter of time until we all have robots as pets and holograph communication devices, and as mildly disturbing as it is that we are inching closer and closer to living out scenes from iRobot, the technology advancements in the medical world seem to be the saving grace, in some ways.
With more focus on the patient’s involvement in their own care process, many online sources have popped up, resulting in medical innovations that place more responsibility on the patients’ shoulders. This freedom and opportunity has opened patients’ eyes to the price-sensitive market, and allowed them to learn more about the health care they are receiving. This has increased price shopping in health care and also knowledge of the market. However, the involvement of social media and technologies that allow physicians to collaborate directly with patients remotely has also increased the responsibility of the physicians to provide more quality and accessible attention to their patients. With means of providing attention and information quickly and easily through these technologies, physicians are now able to tend to patients near and far, especially in rural or remote communities.
Now, since individuals are searching for ways to acquire affordable health care services, the concept of utilizing avatars, or 3-D characters online or in video games, on websites like Second Life has become increasingly popular. These sites are not meant to replace health services, but rather to serve as a chat room type of setting it seems, however it also seems that the price of such attention is directly reflective of the level of quality and service. In a sense, you pay for what you get. While websites like Twitter, Facebook and blogs have enabled patients to open their eyes to medical knowledge, it seems that the concept of having avatars or patients and physicians interacting like a video game may be taking it a step too far.
On the other hand, we have websites like the recently created, Save On Medical, which allows patients to search by the service they require then learn about their options, and make decisions based on quality, convenience and price. By providing patients with options, they are able to learn more about the procedures they are receiving, thus enhancing their experience and fostering a knowledge-driven health care society.
These technologies are going to be a great source for health care changes, now and in our near future, however it will be necessary on the physicians’’ part to ensure that we are not missing out on the most important part of health care, that whole portion about “care.” That idea of personalized service cannot go away, and the key to optimizing this opportunity will be for independent facilities to work both angles of care and technology.