Monday, 11 July 2011

Puntuando a los médicos en la web

Cada vez es más frecuente (también en España), webs que incluyen listas de profesionales de la salud y su lugar de actividad profesional, y en las que los usuarios pueden aportar opiniones sobre dichos profesionales y la experiencia personal que se haya podido tener con la atención sanitaria recibida.

Lo positivo está en que es importante facilitar la comunicación entre los diferentes protagonistas, poder expresar libremente opiniones tanto favorables como no, pero siempre con un objetivo, mejorar el sistema en general y la atención médica en las consultas.
Lo negativo, y desafortunadamente tan importante como lo positivo o más, es el hecho de que estas plataformas no pueden asegurar (tal como suelen indicar) quién eres realmente (desde el punto de vista profesional) y lo que es todavía más preocupante, tampoco sabemos quiénes están opinando sobre un profesional, hospital o servicio. ¿Cuáles pueden ser las consecuencias de una o muchas opiniones falsamente vertidas (con buena o mala intención) en estos foros, positivas o negativas, que pueden influir sobre la decisión de otros usuarios, creyendo que la atención médica ofrecida es la mejor en el primer caso, o rechazándola de pleno al leer la pésima calidad asistencial del profesional calificado en el segundo caso?

Si queremos la bien deseada transparencia, ésta debe ser exigida a todos, no sólo a los profesionales, sino también a las plataformas y a los que opinan, así ganamos todos. Mientras tanto, podemos estar ante una peligrosa farsa basada en una buena idea, utilizada sin la mínima seguridad y ética exigibles.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Beyond e-patients

New Communication and Information Technologies (ICT) are no longer new, they are totally integrated into our lives, in our personal, social or professional relations, there is no turning back. For that reason, some terms which have made complete sense up to now are not necessary any more and should be given up.

E-patients and e-physicians turn back into patients and physicians, at present they have integrated twitter and facebook or other social networks into their day to day work, and they are using Google searches, as much as to be better informed in the case of the former and better trained in the latter and also clarify their doubts, their illness or concerns, to get support from others like them, sharing their knowledge and experience, to make an appointment, to get medical advice online and so forth.

Now the previous patient-doctor relationship in the current e-scenario is a simple reality and fortunately it is a renewed relationship and it isn't an "e-" any more. The Electronic Health Record (EHR) is shared between patients and medical doctors and the possibility to gain access to them is a fact, to recommend high quality websites is usual and it seems that online support groups and social networks will soon be incorporated in the EHR.

From now on, we may and we have to give up talking about "e"-patients, we reinvent o.s. time and again but now as "patients".

Friday, 1 July 2011

Personal Health Records (PHR) versus Electronic Health Records (EHR)?

Personal Health Records (PHR) are essentially patient-centered services with the aim of offering a space on the Internet, where people could have access to their personal health information. Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault are the outstanding exemples of this kind of service.

On the other hand, eventually it seems that Electronic Health Records (EHR) have been adopted in western countries, although with different speeds and difficulties among them. Surely, there are diverse reasons to decide to retire Google Health, but I'm sure one reason that may explain the low success of PHR services is the fact that the EHR, at least apparently, is made with an open-minded vision of the medical-patient relationship in the current ICT scenario. In my view, that means the EHRs are "for" and "by" patients, with the promise of an open access and shared management with medical doctors. So why do you need an external service in the cloud if it is included in EHR, and which is reliable, secure and shared?