Last week I attended the E-Patients Connect 2011 conference and the DV-NJHIMSS conference. I got to notice the juxtaposition between the e-patients and the Health IT folks. And the message I came out with is our humanity. On a personal level we’re all the same: good and bad together, usually meaning well. We often discuss about the others as groups: the doctors, the patients, the HIT folks, and these groups seem to lose the humanity: “the doctors are always late”, “the e-patients are taking too much of our time”, “the doctors are the most resistant to change”, etc. I got to experience the humanity of Seth Godin and John Halamka, both my favorite morning blog read.
At the e-patients talk there were very few doctors and healthcare systems represented. So there was quite a bit of talk about them as a group. But then, the very next day, I got to meet them in person. And they were nice and friendly and ready to listen to others and ready to learn and having a lot to teach too. When you see them in person, one by one, they just lose all the group qualifications.
Seth was mentioning that one reason to keep a good receptionist in a physician’s office instead of replacing her with a voicemail robot is to keep the humanity in and attract the patient. He’s so right! In our favorite dentist’s office, the receptionist knows all about us. She’s nice and friendly and only adds more value to an excellent dentist.
I know that blogs are technical and they put a barrier to face to face online communication, but when there is no time for personal connections, personalized blogs will bring the humanity of the doctor out and will help patients understand more about the person. We generally like the people we meet, not so much the groups.