There has been a noticeable transition from the role of doctors playing in American society today. While patients sought out their doctor’s advice when they were sick, now it is the role of adviser, coach and motivator that physicians must now play for everyone- and communicate it in a different way than in the past.

According to a survey with greater than 1,000 Americans performed by Varolii, a leading customer interaction management provider of applications, the public has specific preferences with the manner in which they expect interactions with healthcare providers.

Rather than simply treating sickness, 80% of those surveyed feel that it is the responsibility of their physician to keep them healthy. By reminding patients to take their drugs for chronic conditions and to remind them about appointments, doctors have a great chance to change health positively.  This would address the quarter of the patients who do not take their drugs regularly.

More than half the American patients do believe that receiving text messages contribute to preventative care.  Not only that, they believe that receiving text, email or interaction with a health app from a smartphone had the potential of a avoiding a health problem.

Three quarters of those enrolled in a wellness program felt that “health-related communication through mobile channels could help manage a chronic condition”.  Patients participating in wellness programs displayed the “highest affinity for mobile interactions.”

While people like receiving a phone call from their doctor or nurse practitioner, a clear 45% of those surveyed indicated that they prefer an email from their doctor’s office. Yet 68% state that they have never received a text or email from their doctor about nearing appointments or other health-related activities.

Unfortunately not even one in 5 providers currently interact along mobile channels.  Dramatically, one in every four  patients in the U.S. feels that their provider is inaccessible to them when they want a response to their concerns or to address their questions.

Even though the use of digital methods has significantly risen, only 4% of medical personnel use smartphone apps and 7% use texting.

Clearly the public is desirous of this and if physicians want to satisfy their patients, keep them in their practice and make a positive affect on patient behavior, they must consider acting upon the new channels of communication.

One can only conjecture at this point as to why it is not more popular in the medical community.  A real possibility is that physicians may be anxious about crossing over the lines that HIPPA draw or that security may be compromised.  Some may feel that it encroaches upon liability issues or that it leaves a paper trail that the physician is uncomfortable with.  Some may plainly be uncomfortable with using these modes instead of the traditional telephone call.  However, as these methods become more ingrained in society, doctors will realize that it frees up their time as well.

Does your doctor use texting or email when interacting with you?

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