It would seem logical that newly-minted physicians entering the medical workplace would expect that some level of performance monitoring would apply. However, this complex and ever-changing world of hospital and physician performance measurement often makes the young medical practitioner apprehensive and questioning.
Are such measurements in the context of pay-for-performance (or non-performance), or in a quality improvement and educational context? How are physicians being measured? And is the data that is being used for measurement trustworthy? Let’s examine some of the issues surrounding physician performance measurement and how technology can help create a more trustworthy measurement environment.
In recent years, sophisticated technology has had a huge impact on the practices of most healthcare professionals. Gone are the days of racks full of patient record folders in a doctor’s office. Electronic health records (EHRs) have replaced paper records in most medical environments.
However, adaptation and acceptance of technology in healthcare has been fraught with difficulty. Some of this is due to fear of change from older personnel, but most is due to the sheer volume of data collected over years, especially as the systems mature. Let’s examine.
There is little dispute that medical practitioners are among the most highly educated members of our society. However, much of their extensive education is focused on diagnosing illness, often with the aid of high-tech diagnostic tools. While the increase in technology comes with enormous benefits, many are also concerned that the concentration on technical results can cause medical staff to miss important cues and can lead to a lack of empathy in healthcare.
Medical schools certainly encourage their students to develop a good bedside manner, but there is little formality in place. While it is difficult to teach, having empathy can make the difference between being a good practitioner and a mediocre one. Are we ready to give up on empathy in healthcare in the technological era? Or is there still room for it alongside our EHRs and AI-powered applications? (more…)