Technology Plus The Doctor

By Daniel L. Mannen, OD, FAAO April 05, 2013

Wow, have things ever changed. Just look at how far we have come: mechanical to automated, Polaroid to digital, and paper to electronic. Clearly, data collection and reporting have changed forever. In fact, every aspect of patient care is being impacted by the technology revolution.

Everything from patient scheduling to updating medical history can be done online before a patient ever speaks to someone at the office. And now, there is an ever increasing potential for vital patient data to be monitored remotely.

A recent segment seen on Rock Center with Brian Williams was entitled, “Could a smart phone be the future of medicine?” It discussed EKG, ultrasound, and blood glucose among other applications, all of which can be monitored remotely in real time, today…and all via an iPhone app. Can you imagine a doctor prescribing an app in addition to a medication?

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We certainly can envision similar remote data collection possibilities in optometric practice: IOP, retinal imaging, and even refractive change. Yikes! Where does the doctor fit in this equation? I would submit that the doctor is front and center because I believe that the best patient outcomes occur when there is a fusion of technology with personalized care.

And, this is where independent optometry shines! We are the leaders in patient connection and education. Patients look to us as a trusted source of information. They value our opinion and welcome our reassurance. Our treatment plans become the road map to better health. The importance of the doctor/patient connection cannot be overstated.

As I See It, we doctors will remain relevant as long as we establish and maintain a personal connection with our patients. We must embrace new technologies but we must also make it a priority to emphasize the human element in patient care. Patients will always view their doctor as an essential part of health and well being as long as their bond remains strong. Technology simply provides better tools to make it happen.

I would like to invite you to share examples of how you have combined technology with personal care in your practices for the benefit of your colleagues.

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