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Evolving Medical Relationships

In January, delegates at a conference at the the Regenstrief Institute Inc. discussed Relationship Centred care and how important it is to success. The conference considered the interactions of the healthcare team, the patient and the patient’s relatives and friends. But a more virtual relationship is increasing in importance.

Successful outcomes depend on the mechanics of care and on the social and emotional context of the clinician-patient relationship. For example, a medical test might reveal that a patient has a condition needing a change in diet. The clinician must develop a working relationship with the patient if the treatment is to succeed. Simply telling someone to control his dietary intake will probably fail, unless the relationship is right.

When I visit my GP she has a representation of me on her IT system. It tells her my age, allergies, current prescription, last blood pressure reading and so on. This representation of me will become increasingly sophisticated as the multi-disciplinary EPR builds. Eventually, it may even be a virtual representation of the real me—a medical avatar.

Such an avatar would allow sophisticated monitoring and diagnosis and become just as important to my health as my relationships with medical staff. Could it be that the avatar is eventually used by computerised decision support to decide the mechanics of care and that clinicians will provide my emotional and social needs?


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Absolutely! Q: What is the role of the medical expert currently? A: As an advocate - translating your needs into a language that the system can "process" and translating the output of the system into language you can understand. What about the "human bit" - sorry no room for that in the current system. Well maybe that's what I expect from my "doctor" ???

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