Tuesday, February 05, 2008

On-line house calls

I'm very interested in the use of internet technology in primary care and also have some misgivings about it. Approaching this topic, one can quickly get mired in the sometimes dreary state of primary care and family medicine in general. I'll save that for another time. Suffice it to say that medicine continues to value technology over intellect, testing over talking, doing over discussing.
My greatest satisfaction in my work comes from well-paced, thoughtful, personal dialogues face-to-face with my patients. As a result of the energy I dedicate to these many encounters daily and my own personality style (or limitations, you might say), phone-calling is a dreaded task of mine. All of us know the satisfaction that it gives our patients to get the personal attention of a doctor phone call. The demands of the "modern" primary care doctor are overwhelming, however. There simply will need to be some means of compensating us for the time required to continue to give you, the patient, that personal touch, that both of us deserve and crave.
Here's an article about on-line house calls which describes a trend in frequent trendsetter (for better and for worse) Kaiser Permanente in California.