Consumers and Doctors Divided-JSK

March 30 this week was National Doctors Day, which was proclaimed a national celebration by President George Bush in 1991. But as I’ve written through this week here on Health Populi, doctors may enjoy prestige on the outside, but they’re hurting on the inside — both economically in medical/business practices, and emotionally in their personal career-lives.

Patients tend to like, even love, their personal physicians based on years of consumer polls on the topic (usually themed, “love my own doctor, hate the health care system”). But physicians and their patients aren’t on the same page, literally, when it comes to health data sharing. My post in the HIMSS blog this week speaks to the nearly polar-opposite approaches to opening vs. limiting patients’ data in electronic health records. My essay on the HIMSS blog this week, #HIMSS16 Reflections: Engaging the New Healthcare Consumer, speaks to this asymmetry.

Here’s an excerpt from that post:

Walking through the aisles of exhibitors with that consumer lens firmly focused, I indeed took in taglines and mantras on their booths heralding “population health,” “empowering patients,” “the connected patient,” and to be sure, “patient engagement.”

But the reality is that there continues to be a significant chasm between health care providers and patients when it comes to true sharing of data. The most important piece of data coming out of hundreds of press releases during the week of HIMSS2016 is this one, from Accenture’s March 1 press release titled, “Consumers and Doctors Increasingly Divided on Who Should Have Access to a Patient’s Electronic Health Record, Accenture Survey Finds.”

I wrote more detail about the Accenture study here in Health Populi when this survey report was published during HIMSS week (titled, “Yin and Yang: Doctors and Patients’ Bipolar Views on EHR Access“).

National Doctors Day Dignity HealthHealth Populi’s Hot Points:  It is essential for patients/health consumers to be able to easily access their health data for their own health engagement, and increasingly, to share with caregivers (often adult children, daughters and sons alike, taking on caretaking roles).

It is also important to celebrate our physicians not just on National Doctors Day, but for their healing work. I point to Dignity Health’s “Hands are for healing” campaign celebrating their own community of physicians this week. This is part of the health system’s “Hello, humankindness” branding which I consider a best practice example for a high tech, high touch health care provider.

Part of patient engagement is for patients to engage back with physicians — to ask questions, to come prepared for the visit and maximize the precious face-to-face moment with the time-pressured doctor. That’s a terrific way to honor one’s physician.

And don’t forget to ask for your data if it’s not offered.