My CNN column on how empowered patients can help doctors

Welcome readers from CNN.com!

“E-patients are an essential part of the health care team, and play an increasingly influential role in the shared decision making process with their physicians.”

My CNN column on how empowered patients can help doctors That’s what I wrote in a CNN.com column published this morning, entitled, Will the doctor answer your e-mail?

However, doctors aren’t given the tools or the time to properly engage empowered patients, despite the fact that studies show that most want to support those who take a pro-active stance with their health:

Neither the time physicians spend with their patients, nor the use of the tools necessary to facilitate a stronger patient-doctor relationship, are valued … E-patients can help, by recognizing the constraints on physicians and demanding that changes be made in the health system that will help doctors better meet the needs of empowered patients.

Enjoy the piece.

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  • http://warmsocks.wordpress.com/ WarmSocks

    E-patients can help, by recognizing the constraints on physicians and demanding that changes be made in the health system that will help doctors better meet the needs of empowered patients.

    As a patient I recognize that my doctors have a limited amount of time. How do you propose that patients demand changes? What form would those demands take, and to whom would they be made? Insurers? Employers? Congress? I just don’t see it happening. Individual patients have no power.

  • http://www.davisliumd.blogspot.com Davis Liu, MD

    The real questions are whether doctors are willing to embrace email and e-patients if the reimbursement structure fundamentally changes from a fee for service (office visit and one can envision other fees for telephone / email) to one that is a prepaid one. In addition, will patients be willing to move to doctors in organizations setup to deliver the care that Dr. Pho argues people want?
    At Kaiser Permanente in 2009, nine million emails were sent by patients and responded to by MDs.
    Sounds like doctors and patients are willing if the alignment of the system is correct. Not a pipe dream at all.

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    QUOTE FROM THE CNN COLUMN:
    “Most primary care doctors practice in an environment dominated by 15-minute office visits, where encounters are rushed and questions discouraged.”

    Boy, does that sound familiar. I have dhad some seemingly minot health issues for years that I have never even mentioned to any doctor, because there is never enough time.