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Doctor-Patient RELATIONSHIPS in the MODERN Health 2.0 ERA

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[Can We Talk? – A Collaborative Shift in Bedside Manner]

By Mario Moussa PhD MS

By David E. Marcinko MBBS MBA CMP

By Jennifer Tomasik PhD MS

Jennifer Tomasik

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

George Bernard Shaw 

Star Trek fans have seen the future of medicine.

Leonard McCoy, also known as “Bones,” describes himself as a “simple country doctor,” although he plies his trade using 23rd. century medical technology. A deeply caring humanist, Bones often spars with the hyper-logical Spock—half human, half Vulcan. But as the Star Trek saga unfolds through The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and finally Voyager, Star Fleet physicians become increasingly rational and less recognizably human. The Voyager’s “Doctor” is no person at all. “He” is an infallible computer program designed to mimic compassion, self-assurance, and other soulful qualities.[i]

Health/Web 2.0

Today, when patients communicate through instant messaging, Twitter, Facebook, and other Health/Web 2.0 electronic mediums, they might feel that health providers are already more like the virtual “Doctor” than the all-too-human “Bones.” Before long, according to one technology expert, 20% – 50% of all doctor-patient communication will be virtual.[ii] But we suggest you pause before rocketing ahead into this brave new future that advocates call Health 2.0—the application of social media tools to the health care environment.

Electronic technology

Electronic technology in all of its forms has obviously had a profound impact on medicine. We focus here on just one of its most notable effects: the changing doctor-patient relationship. We believe Health 2.0 has the potential to deepen this relationship—or not. It depends on how you use it.

There are an almost overwhelming number of social media tools for managing the doctor-patient relationship. How do you choose the right ones? We offer some guidance in this essay by focusing on three issues:

The issues

  1. What matters most in the doctor-patient relationship?
  2. What counts as a good relationship?
  3. How should you use social media tools to build a relationship?

We have found that there is no one best way to use Health 2.0 technology. But there is just one rule. As the novelist E.M. Forster said, “Only connect.”





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Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

  • Petrany, Stephen M. “Star Trek and the Future of Family Medicine.” Family Medicine 40.2 (2008): 132 – 133.
  • Silverman, Jennifer. “Impact of Virtual Visits on Doctor-Patient Relationship Unclear: an end to ‘true medicine’?” Ob.Gyn. News 38.21 (2003): 29.



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5 Responses

  1. Consumer Segmentation Has Hit Health Care

    Long used in other areas, like retail, consumer segmentation could allow hospitals to better engage patients and deliver tailored services.

    Here’s How it Works: http://www.hhnmag.com/articles/6932-consumer-segmentation-just-hit-health-care-heres-how-it-works?utm_campaign=122816&utm_medium=email&utm_source=hhndaily&eid=254592437&bid=1623482

    Dr. David E. Marcinko MBA


  2. Patients Treated by Female Physicians Had Lower 30-day Mortality

    JAMA recently published results from a study on mortality and readmissions rates for patients treated by female physicians compared to patients treated by male physicians. Here are some key findings from the report:

    • Female physicians account for one-third of the US physician workforce.
    • Half of all US medical school graduates are women.
    • Patients treated by females had lower 30-day mortality (11.07% vs 11.49%).
    • Readmissions were 15.02% for patients treated by females vs 15.57% for males.
    • Patients of female physicians had lower mortality for sepsis (23.05% vs 25.09%).
    • An estimated 32,000 fewer patients would die annually if male physicians achieved the same outcomes as female physicians.

    Source: United Health Foundation
    [December 12, 2016]


  3. 2020

    When it comes to communication in 2020 it is all about convenience and accuracy. Consumers, clients, and patients have come to expect really fast response times and accurate information. From my perspective of a financial professional I know this has become more and more true even over the last 5 years. When this all started the profitability was on trades and the investment vehicle for the most part and the advice / guidance was complimentary. Now, it is almost the exact opposite – most stocks, ETFs, and some mutual funds are available at little to no cost and the emphasis is on advice or guidance.

    Now in regards to advice and guidance – clients want options. Such as self paced educational classes, webinars and seminars, chat features, chat rooms, or being able to see an advisor face to face or via Facetime, Skype, or some other form of video conferencing.

    To be successful as a financial services provider (and I’m assuming the same is true in healthcare) you have to have scalable solutions.

    In conclusion – time will tell which of these models is the best, if there is such a thing. I think they all serve a purpose and a specific client niche. However, you need to have options for all of these in order to be able to serve the wider client base needed to run a successful business.

    BOTH healthcare and financial advice / planning are under increasing scrutiny.
    We all carry more and more liability and clients / patients want faster, cheaper, and more robust options.


    Where is the tipping point?


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