ClickCare Café

Why Telemedicine Can Help You Make Better Medical Decisions

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Thu, Aug 02, 2018 @ 07:00 AM

michal-parzuchowski-43274-unsplashAnnie Duke is an author, consultant, and former professional poker player. In other words, she studies good decisions for a living.

Medicine, of course, is about far more than good decisions. It’s about compassion, leadership, science, and training. But excellent decisions — in both diagnosis and treatment plans — are absolutely crucial for providing excellent care. So I was intrigued to read an article recently, in my investment journal of all places, that made me think a lot about decisions and how we can make them better as healthcare providers.

The article, "Making Better and More Rational Decisions. An interview with Annie Duke," in the American Association of Individual Investors Journal, is a compelling piece with applications for life and investment, certainly. 

But what fascinated me were the implications for healthcare providers, trying to make the best possible decisions they can. Further, I noticed that many of Annie's points boiled down to getting better information or bringing others in on your decision -- both of which are deeply supported by hybrid store-and-forward telemedicine, when it comes to medical decisions. 

3 Fascinating Decision-Making Tips for Healthcare from Decision Expert and Pro Poker Player Annie Duke:

1. Remove emotion from the decision. 
We don't think about medical decisions as having an emotional component, but the truth is that they do. It's not unusual to get caught up in all of the details of a case, feel an emotional reaction to a patient, or otherwise let emotion creep into the decision-making process. Annie Duke says that predicting downsides is core to the decision-making process. And that predicting downsides is easier when you’re not emotionally involved -- which means that our colleagues' unbiased opinion is often crucial to a good decision. It's the reason that "bouncing an idea off" someone is such a common way to approach a decision -- but we have to have the tools in place to quickly and easily bounce ideas off colleagues, even when they're not just down the hall. That's what a consult via a telemedicine solution can do for you.

2. Bring in people with different experiences and views than you have.
That will lead to a better decision. “It’s especially important to seek out opinions that disagree with you. This is because we naturally notice things that do agree with us, and we already know why we think that way.”  Hybrid store-and-forward telemedicine is the most powerful way of truly engaging a team approach to telemedicine. Since you can quickly, easily, and asynchronously collaborate with people on the medical team across the continuum of care, it's not hard to bring in people with diverse experiences, views, and expertise than you have. These providers, who may not agree with your initial ideas, can help us make dramatically better decisions on behalf of our patients. 

3. Learn from past decisions. 
Learning from past decisions is crucial. It lets you take in new information, learn lessons from cases that didn't have the outcome you anticipated, as well as help our students or colleagues make better decisions by learning from our experiences. That's why every case in iClickCare is archived and searchable -- it's a realtime learning tool for making better medical decisions, now and in the future. 


Ultimately, good medical outcomes come from good medical decisions. These decisions may be large or small, but their sum contributes to the patient's outcome. So any tool that can help us make better decisions, may be critical to good care. That's one reason we're so passionate about our work with iClickCare -- and a reason to try it if you haven't already. 


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Tags: care coordination, healthcare collaboration, medical education

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