Sunday, October 07, 2012

Why information therapy has become even more important today

As medical knowledge grows exponentially , it becomes increasingly hard for a doctor to keep
updated with all the latest advances . This is why family physicians are often forced to refer patients to specialists , who will then handle the problem related to their particular organ of interest.

While specialists are equipped with special technology , tools and expertise in dealing with their particular area, the problem with this approach means that care is starting to get fragmented . Specialists are only interested in their own area of expertise and can be remarkably ignorant about what is happening in other organs which do not fall within their domain !  However, the fact remains that the patient has a body which will often be affected by a disease which affects multiple systems and cuts across many specialties !

Thus, for example , a patient with psoriasis may have skin rashes; as well as a joint disease called psoriatic arthritis . The problem is that the patient has both the skin disease and the joint disease , and wants a doctor who will help him to manage both . He goes to go a dermatologist , who manages the skin disease well, but understands precious little about the joint problems . This is why the dermatologist refers the patient to a rheumatologist , who understands a lot about the joint problems but understands practically nothing about the skin problem. This often means that patients have to shuttle back and forth from one specialist to another . Because each specialist lives in their own little compartment , and have their own limited worldview and perspective , they will often end up not talking to each other or sharing each other's perspectives . This means that the left hand often doesn't know what the right hand is doing - and the patient gets stuck in the middle ! He often has to spend a lot of time and energy trying to coordinate care,  in trying to make sure both specialists talk to each other, and know what the other is doing and why. As you can imagine, this is extremely hard to do . Tracking down one specialist is difficult – and getting two of them to talk to each other is practically impossible !

This is why information therapy has become so important today ! Patients need to be able to have an overall perspective about their disease -  they cannot afford to allow their care to get fragmented thanks to specialists who deal only with the individual organ of the body in which they happen to have a special interest ! information therapy would ensure that the patient understands what each specialist is doing ; and also provides a platform which allows the patient to engage with all the specialists who are involved in his medical care. We need to put patients first ; and specialists need to understand how information therapy can allow this to happen effectively.

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