Monday, October 24, 2011

Create once, use many times

It’s true that doctors are bottlenecks. After all the doctor only has 24 hours in a day , and the number of patients whom he can actually see , examine , or talk to is going to be limited. This is especially true for highly skilled doctors because their services are often in great demand and they often have long lines of patients waiting to see them. While this can be very gratifying to their ego, this is not a very efficient use of the doctor’s time – or the patients’ ! One way these doctors can amplify their effectiveness is by employing assistants (physician assistants or junior doctors ) who can help them to process more patients (by taking a history or by doing the initial examination) .

Today, they can increase their efficiency and efficacy by using technological tools to achieve exactly the same end. An extremely good example of this is the intelligent use of patient education videos which can be used to counsel patients , and ensure that patients provide informed consent prior to going in for surgery.

Often explaining things to patients is not something which a lot of doctors are good at. They find this very boring, repetitive and monotonous , and would rather be doing more interesting things with their time. Cleverly crafted audiovisual tools can ensure that doctors can communicate the information which their patients need , without having to do it themselves. This can be done by using interactive services such as virtual coaches, or health games, which they can also share with other family members.

Not only will this free up a lot of the doctor’s time , so that he can then start doing the things which interest him, it'll also ensure that the information which is provided is of high quality . Equally importantly, it allows the doctor to document the fact that this information has been provided to the patient.

This way high-quality information, which is complete, comprehensive, and based on sound medical principles can be provided to all patients no matter how many there are. The doctor now no longer acts as a bottleneck , and can use the time freed up to be more efficient and productive.

The trick is to spend a lot of time and energy on creating a good video . This can be expensive and time consuming, but once it’s been created , it can be used multiple times . This comes back to the principle of “ create once , use many times “ - something which doctors need to learn to use if they want to reach out to more people efficiently.
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