When I grew up in New Jersey, we had a GP who took care of the entire family, my parents, me and my 3 younger sisters. 30 years later, when my Mom became ill with MSA (multiple system atrophy), she had multiple specialists – neurologist, dietitian, speech therapist, cardiologist, physiotherapist in addition to the GP. By this time, we were living in Israel and as an adult with my own family, I wondered why these doctors couldn’t work together as a team.
Ten years later – I am beginning to find the answers to help make that happen.
A training program at the Duke University Medical school takes family medicine residents into the community, pairing a resident with a senior citizens in community centers, churches and synagogues.
“Preparing physicians for both teamwork and a focus on community-centered care requires new approaches at every level of education,” writes J. Lloyd Michener, chairman of the Department of Family Medicine at Duke University, which represents one of only a handful of medical schools exposing residents to this environment. Michener calls on schools to expose medical students to expanded teamwork during their medical training so they can bring that group ethos into a community once they begin to practice medicine”.
Technology enabler for team-based care
Private social networking for healthcare is a key technology for team-based care, enabling patients, caregivers and members of the medical team share information, document patients’ progress and agree on goals and actions.
Easy-to-use social software like groups, file sharing and private messaging enables doctors to provide guidance and enables patients to share their personal experiences and vital signs.
Private social networking for healthcare also enables primary care physicians to coordinate high-quality care with other health providers outside of their own IT systems. This includes nontraditional locations such as community centers, workplaces and places of worship – places where people work, play and pray.
Move health care back into the day-to-day lives of patients
Private social networking for healthcare helps move health care from the hospital and doctor’s office into the day-to-day lives of patients, and bring their personal experiences back to the doctor in a timely fashion.
Leveraging consumer devices that can be used anywhere; cell phones, computers, tablets and simple remote monitoring tools — private social networking for healthcare helps clinical care teams and patients manage chronic conditions, maintain health and wellness, and improve compliance and clinical outcomes.
A compassionate connection with someone
But, private social networking for healthcare is much more than a technology enabler for team-based care. It also plays an important part in the emotional and educational part of the patient-care team connection. No longer having to rely solely on hearsay from friends, relatives and Dr. Google – clinicians can get back to basics and connect directly with their patients.
Better education, learning from someone else’s mistakes
From an objective perspective, private social networking for healthcare also has great value in improving education; medicine is still one of few fields that actually requires experience, even for the most intelligent and talented. Private social networking for healthcare enables physicians to share their experience and patients experience with younger, less experienced colleagues. Powerful search tools enable less experienced doctors to learn from others’ experience and mistakes.