The digital transformation of medicine can revitalize the patient-clinician relationship


Health professionals within the medical community feel that the principles of humanism in medicine have not been a point of emphasis for information and computer technology in healthcare. There is concern that the electronic health record is eroding the patient-clinician relationship and distancing clinicians from their patients. New analytic technologies, on the contrary, by taking over repetitive and mundane tasks, can provide an avenue to make medical care more patient-centered by freeing clinicians' time, and the time of the whole clinical care team, to engage with patients. Technology such as advanced speech recognition that optimizes clinicians' workflow could revitalize the patient-clinician relationship and perhaps also improve clinician well-being. Digital phenotyping can gain invaluable additional data from patients using technology that is already used for personal reasons by the majority of patients. The digital transformation of healthcare has the potential to make healthcare more humane and personalized, however, several important steps are needed to avoid the pitfalls that have come with prior iterations of information technology in medicine such as a heightened emphasis on data security and transparency. Both patients and clinicians should be involved from the early stages of development of medical technologies to ensure that they are person-centric. Technologists and engineers developing healthcare technologies should have experiences with the delivery of healthcare and the lives of patients and clinicians. These steps are necessary to develop a common commitment to the design concept that technology and humane care are not mutually exclusive, and in fact, can be symbiotic.


Warraich, Haider JCaliff, Robert MKrumholz, Harlan MengReviewEnglandNPJ Digit Med. 2018 Sep 20;1:49. doi: 10.1038/s41746-018-0060-2. eCollection 2018.