My daughter always jokes that a cold can throw off a whole month. She gets a cold, then she stays away from the gym for a couple of weeks out of fatigue, then her back starts hurting, then gets another cold from being worn down.
It sounds a little dramatic, but the truth is that even small health issues have a complex interplay with our emotions and our "regular" life.
On one hand, disease and ill health can obviously disrupt our lives. A referral to a far away provider can mean one too many "sick days" and the loss of a job. Sickness or health conditions can, of course, affect how we feel and what we are able to do.
Conversely, our needs, loves, habits, and emotional state as people can deeply affect our ability to heal and to pursue a course of treatment effectively. Maybe a patient opts out of a crucial surgery, but maybe he opts in if you schedule it a week later (just after his State basketball tournament.) Maybe one series of interventions for a patient with a cleft palate looks wise; but maybe a different series of interventions looks better once the surgeon has spoken with the patient's teacher.
As Dr. Ofri of the New York Times says, "If a patient has poor health and is also feeling miserable, it’s not enough just to address the medical problem. How a person is feeling emotionally needs to be acknowledged and explored."
For a good medical provider, all of this is beyond obvious. Physicians have always been artists and scientists and social workers and mystics all in one. The family doctor has always taken the whole person into account when treating him.
The only difference is that these days, it is harder for providers to give care in this way. Providers are siloed off from each other, so the insight that the nurse has about a patient's clarinet recital never gets to the neurologist planning her MRI. Healthcare collaboration becomes a "nice to have" rather than the foundation of appropriate care coordination in service of good outcomes.
The entire foundation of our work at ClickCare is based on this concept. Patients are more than just a disease -- and every aspect of their lives and care needs to come into play to heal them effectively.
That's why we believe that telemedicine that supports healthcare collaboration has nothing to do with technology -- and everything to do with making medicine more human.
Get back to treating people, not just patients. Learn about how telemedicine can help: