The quality of communication between doctors and their patients can be very important. Failures in this communication could result in doctors not having all the information they need to provide their patients with quality care. This could potentially lead to medical errors, which can have many negative impacts on patients.
Currently, Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut is testing a program which is aimed at using new technologies to help improve the quality of communication between doctors and their patients.
The program involves having doctors use iPads when they provide care to patients. Reportedly, the hospital’s doctors can access patient records and other information through these devices.
One of the goals of the program is to improve the quality of communication between the hospital’s doctors and their patients. The likely hope is that doctors can use the iPads to better convey information when having discussions with patients. The program reportedly is reaching the end of its testing phase. It will be interesting to see if the hospital eventually expands the program to cover more of its doctors.
What effects could programs like this one have on the quality of care patients receive? The answer to this question likely depends on how well doctors are able to integrate the use of portable devices into medical conversations with patients.
It does seem like devices like iPads could potentially allow doctors to better communicate with patients, provided that the doctors who used them knew how to properly integrate use of these devices into discussions with patients, as they can provide a convenient and portable format for accessing and visually displaying information. And, if use of the devices could in fact lead to better doctor-patient communications, it could potentially improve the quality of care patients receive.
However, if a doctor used a device like an iPad in the context of a patient conversation in a way that was confusing or didn’t make sense to a patient, these potential positive effects would likely disappear.
Thus, programs like the one being tested at Yale-New Haven Hospital could potentially positively impact the quality of care patients receive. However, hospitals need to be aware that the effectiveness of these programs could be heavily influenced by whether their doctors know how to properly use portable computing devices in the context of conversations with patients.
Source: NBC17, “Connecticut doctors use iPads to provide better care,” 19 March 2011