PHILADELPHIA — Integration of not only health care data, but personal and social data, may help clinicians gain some valuable insights into individualized care; however, many questions remain about how to fully interpret the information, according to a speaker here.
Many clinical encounters are structured for efficiency and not for individualized patient care, Carlos Rodarte, founder and managing director of Volar Health, a digital health consultancy in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said in his presentation.
“Doctors tend to be very specialized when it comes to medical issues,” he said. “There’s a lot of reasons for that, and doctors have to be accurate and scientific.”
According to Rodarte, health care providers need to move beyond just the clinical encounter to develop strategies that will be helpful for the person as a whole — not just for the disease or symptoms.
“When we think about what is actually going on in patient’s lives, ... whether its transportation issues, home issues, family constraints, there are all of these things that may skew the way in which we see care or the way the patients are being treated,” he said. “There is a lot of information that doesn’t make it to the health care provider that may be helpful in determining how a patient progresses over time.”
Rodarte said the use of the many different technologies today, including smartphones and wearable devices, can help clinicians to understand the everyday experiences of their patients.
“When talking to a patient, they’re already going through symptoms, they’ve been diagnosed, they’re living with it, and they have different needs throughout this entire continuum,” he said. “Oftentimes, we don’t change the way we use technology to care for someone in their health journey.”
However, he added that it is hard to know when technology is moving toward engagement between physicians and patients and when clinicians can truly trust the information.
“I think we need to go back to the basics and see technology as a bridge to the patient, a bridge to the patient-physician relationship and not something that intrudes on patient-physician interactions,” Rodarte said. “We need to figure out how to integrate technology into workflows and technical aspects and really how we can evolve patient care.” – by Amber Cox
Rodarte C. Improving patient engagement and outcomes through novel technology. Presented at: Annual Meeting of the North American Menopause Society; Oct. 11-14, 2017; Philadelphia.
Disclosures: Rodarte reports he is the founder of Volar Health.