ClickCare Café

Why You Can't Afford to Ignore Art as a Healthcare Provider

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Wed, Apr 05, 2017 @ 03:05 PM

Rembrandt-Anatomy-Lesson-Dr.-Tulp-1024x775.jpegWe've always been enchanted and even obsessed with art, medicine, and the art of medicine. These are our passions, and the foundation of ClickCare.

Our co-founder, Cheryl, did a dual major at Smith College in Art History and Biochemistry. I've always loved the beauty and art in photography, video, woodworking, and in reconstructive surgery itself. And the entire iClickCare app is based on a profound appreciation of simplicity in design, and the nuanced art of medicine.

But, so many people ask -- with healthcare providers under such pressure, is it really practical to think about art in the context of medicine?We recently came across a New York times piece looking at new educational initiatives training medical providers and medical students to use art as a way of being better doctors.

Their goal was to help the new provider to become a more "thoughtful and meticulous observer." It may sound esoteric but the results are significant and hard-hitting. In fact, students of an art-and-medicine class at Yale were 10% more likely to pick up on important details on their patients, than did their peers. And students in a visual skills class made 38% more observations on a visual physical exam of their patients than did their peers.

When these educators speak of "training the eye" through art, that is precisely what we aim for in the iClickCare environment. Early on in iClickCare's history, people were surprised that we included photos in our collaboration tool. Originally, photos were deemed too high tech, and cameras too hard to operate. These days, so many people think secure texting is the way to go. But secure texting simply transmits a question, it doesn't improve our practice as doctors, teams, or as observers. When we use pictures, videos, and multidisciplinary conversations to care for our patients, we're not just doing medical collaboration for that individual patient, we're profoundly improving our capacity as healthcare providers and as healthcare teams.

The reality is that with iClickCare, we advance many of the same goals that are identified in these art and medicine classes. With the goal being to help healthcare providers:

  • Think broadly
  • Consider multiple interpretations
  • Observe closely
  • Empathize with the whole patient
  • Understand the context for your patient's condition.

As Harvard's Dr. Joel Katz (professor of Training the Eye: Improving the Art of Physical Diagnosis) shared, "We’re trying to teach them to trust their vision, to look carefully before making judgments.”

We're amazed that so many in the medical field see medical collaboration and medical photography as "optional" or as a "nice to have". If the third leading cause of death is medical errors, then these skills are far from optional -- they're life or death. 

If you want to work on medical photography, do healthcare collaboration, and see your patients differently, get the first chapter of our book on iPhone medical photography here:

Medical iPhone Photography

Tags: medical collaboration, best medical apps, healthcare collaboration

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