The proliferation of smartphone and EHR technology has given physicians an all-new black bag of tools. It’s also created an all-new generational dynamic. Younger physicians are likely to be carrying a device or two with them at all times (one millennial doctor says his iPad is a great way to demonstrate anatomy to patients and to pull up videos). However, some physicians worry that human connections with patients – the very heart of medicine – are in jeopardy.
From Baby Boomers to Gen-Xers to Millennials, most physicians agree on one thing, though: new technologies can make them better at their jobs. But, while these new technologies might make them better at their jobs, it also means more time in front of a computer or tablet.
A recent study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine found that emergency physicians spent 43 percent of their time entering data into a computer, compared to 28 percent of their time spent talking to patients. “During a typical 10-hour shift, a doctor would click a mouse almost 4000 times.”
Then there is mind-boggling array of electronic health record (EHR) systems at work in hospitals and healthcare facilities across the US. Widely touted as technological tools to improve patient care, EHRs have also managed to add to physicians’ workloads and administrative burdens.
Technology is also giving patients the power to take charge of their own healthcare, and while most physicians value a trend for patient empowerment it does pose some challenges. Whereas earlier generations of patients typically accepted their physician’s advice, today’s Internet-savvy patients may be doing their own research and questioning their doctors. Patient engagement is at a critical point.
Which brings us to telemedicine – a key technology affecting patient engagement and more. According to a PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute Survey, 2016 will be the year millions of consumers participate in their first video consult and use their smartphones as diagnostic tools for the first time.
Telemedicine isn’t just for rural Americans anymore
As telemedicine becomes more popular, it’s important to note that the traditional belief about it thus far – that it’s really best for patients who live in rural areas – is outmoded. Dr. Peter Yellowlees, director of the health informatics program at the University of California, Davis, and board member of the American Telemedicine Association, says the [telemedicine] technology can be used anywhere. “Before, you had to make do with poor quality, or buy a very expensive system. Now, you can buy a $100 webcam and do high-quality videoconferencing.”
For physician recruiters, telemedicine means sourcing physicians with multiple state licenses. The Interstate Compact by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) will likely have a bigger impact on recruiters working with locum tenens physicians, but that’s another topic for a more detailed article. For now, suffice it to say telemedicine – once seen as a novelty – is here to stay and will affect your recruitment efforts.
We believe the core benefit of technology is better communication
Communication is a vital aspect of patient care and we believe technology can and should support this. In fact, technology is quickly changing how the medical world works. The Institute of Medicine claims that “Miscommunication is the fifth leading cause of death." It’s one of the primary reasons Doximity was founded.
Despite concerns about certain technologies, it seems all physicians agree on one thing: technology that supports two-way communication and understanding between doctors and patients (and their families) is necessary and valued.
Does this all-new black bag we call technology affect physician career satisfaction? You bet it does. Today, your candidates need to be able to engage their patients more than ever, as well as be able to work with your EHR system idiosyncrasies. More than anything, you will need to make sure you are recruiting candidates that are willing to adapt to the changing world of medicine.
While salaries do matter to physicians, our experience tells us tools that allow them to spend more time with their patients drives them – and substantially improves their satisfaction. That’s why over half a million U.S. healthcare professionals have chosen Doximity as their network. They use it to grow their practices, coordinate patient care, and manage their careers. Are you using Doximity Talent Finder to connect with these great physicians? Try our powerful search to source and recruit physician candidates now.