ClickCare Café

When Telemedicine Includes a Chicken

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Thu, Oct 02, 2014 @ 08:39 AM

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A recent story in the NY times told the story of a doctor in Israel who offhandedly told a patient's son that, of course, a Rabbi could visit the patient in the hospital. The doctor only had second thoughts when he found the Rabbi in the hospital room, waving a live chicken around the patient's head to a unison of prayer.

The story of the rabbi, the doctor, and the chicken probably sounds a little bizarre to some. Although I'd guess that if you've been practicing for a while, it may not surprise you much. The truth is that although this particular patient's custom was a little less familiar to us, patients always have their own customs and beliefs. And as the author points out, as medical providers, we sometimes ignore, edge out, or belittle these customs or beliefs at the expense of good medical outcomes.

Maybe the little boy you just stitched up needs his twin brother to visit him in the hospital or he won't sleep well at night. Maybe the woman scheduling her surgery needs to schedule after Christmas passes or she won't actually give her wound the time to heal it needs. Maybe it's worth standing in the hallway outside the OR for a few minutes while a patient's family prays, as it will help everyone feel more comfortable, and who knows, may even help the surgery go well.

What does all of this have to do with telemedicine and medical collaboration? Well, everything, actually.

We've found that when medical providers don't collaborate, the humanity of their patients can get lost between the cracks.

If the doctor in Israel had gone off duty right before the Rabbi arrived with the chicken, maybe the new doctor would have made a different decision, without the benefit of context. The new doctor might have banished the chicken, and with it, the trust and buy-in of the patient and his family of the medical interventions at work.

With iClickCare, we find that the little things that make medicine a thoughtful, human, respectful, open practice can actually survive. The "story" of who a person is can come across in a conversation between people, or if folks are too busy or schedules don't match up, in a synchronous exchange via Hybrid Store and Forward Telemedicine. It's the little comment about "I'd say to go ahead and take the stitches out, but make sure Dad is in the room for a minimum of tears" or "Let's schedule the surgery for this week, not next, since Ramadan is coming up" that make the difference between extraordinary care and, just, medical care.

So don't banish the chicken. And use whatever collaboration tools you need, to help.

Curious whether hybrid store and forward telemedicine could help you care for your patients?

ClickCare Quick Guide to Hybrid Store-and-Forward

Tags: medical collaboration, communication with patients, good medicine, collaboration leadership, healthcare collaboration, store and forward medical collaboration, concierge medicine

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