Digitally engaged physicians about the digital health transition

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Date: Sept. 28, 2020
From: PLoS ONE(Vol. 15, Issue 9)
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Document Type: Report
Length: 10,067 words
Lexile Measure: 1240L

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Abstract :

Background Digitalisation affects 90% of healthcare. Digital health, however, does not only refer to technological transformation but also has considerable cultural and social consequences. It fundamentally reshapes the roles of physicians and patients, as well as their relationship. Moreover, from the second half of the 20th century, the growing number of chronic patients and the increase in life expectancy have posed new challenges to the medical workforce. Objectives To explore the digitally engaged physician's knowledge and attitudes towards digital health technologies and the transformation of the doctor-patient relationship. Methods A qualitative interview study analysed with Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). The study is based on qualitative, semi-structured interviews with 11 digitally engaged physicians from 9 countries. We identified four main themes emerging from e-physicians' responses and experience: 1) the past: intentions and experiences of change, 2) the present: the role of digital health and technology in the medical practice and their everyday challenges, 3) the present: the practical and ideal physician-patient relationship, and 4) the future: skills and competencies needed for working with e-patients and visions about the future of the medical practice. Results The interviewed physicians state that digital health solutions could create a deeper doctor-patient relationship: knowledgeable patients are a huge help in the joint work effort and technology is the main tool for creating a more involved and responsible patient. Medical professionals in the future might rather get a role as a translator between technical data and the patient; as a guide in the jungle of digital health. However, the interviewed physicians also noted that digital transition today is more beneficial to patients than to their doctors. Conclusions We state that digitally engaged physicians are characterized by a kind of dichotomy: they use digital opportunities enthusiastically, but they also feel the difficulties related to digital health.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A636760910