Everywhere we turn, we can see the impact of technology. “There’s an app for that!” we hear. But is high-tech healthcare right for everyone?
For much of our lives, that’s just fine. I’m okay with an app keeping track of who shows up at my front door or the choices I make for watching TV. I’m good with connections via email or text, or a quick reminder from Alexa on when to put the trash out. All useful. All convenient.
When is high-tech healthcare too much?
But, when it comes to my healthcare, I’m less okay with technology taking over. When it comes to my healthcare, I just want a human being to hold my hand and give me peace of mind. I don’t mean all the time! If I require a check-up, or some bloodwork, then I don’t need a hand-holder. But if I have dire symptoms, or pain in a strange body part, or anything scary like that, then yes, I need a human being to be there for me. I can’t turn to my cell phone for comfort (can you?).
Now, granted, I am pretty old-school on this. I’m old enough to remember the days when the doctor came to the house! I grew up in a world where the doctor spent time with me, answered my questions, helped me make decisions, and actually listened to me.
Unfortunately, with healthcare’s current focus on technology, we’re losing the one-on-one connections that we had in the old days. (I’m still looking for Marcus Welby!) Instead I’m getting portals and communication with apps and devices. That just does not cut it for me.
So much reliance on technology, to the exclusion of high-touch personal experiences, has now created more uncertainty and fear than ever. If you were diagnosed with cancer 20 years ago, a doctor would discuss it with. If you are diagnosed with cancer today, you can read about it in your portal.
Where does that leave us? It leaves us craving that missing piece that we used to get from our doctors and other providers – a sense that they cared one way or the other. It felt like whether we were successfully and safely treated really mattered. That we were in it together. That doesn’t mean there aren’t doctors who really care about their patients. But the healthcare system today makes it hard for them to get the time to show it.
Enter independent, professional patient advocates to fill that vacuum of personal connections and service.
As human beings, we will always need other human beings to be there with us through difficult times. The healthcare system has made it harder for doctors and other providers to play that role. But professional patient advocates have stepped in to FILL that role. And, frankly, patients can be even better served with an advocate by their side than when it was just your doctor!
- Patient advocates and care managers are available to you when you need them.
- Advocates can accompany you home from a hospitalization or an appointment. They can take care of all those post-discharge or appointment tasks like prescription-filling or making follow-up appointments. As a patient, knowing those tasks are being taken care of on your behalf can bring incredible peace of mind.
- If you are suddenly hospitalized, your patient advocate or care manager can make arrangements for collecting your mail or feeding your dog.
- If you need someone to walk you through your treatment options, your patient advocate can do so.
How many healthcare providers have you heard of doing those things?
If you are okay with apps and portals to guide you through your healthcare, then this blog post is not for you.
But if you are like me, and you know you need another human being to walk you through your healthcare journey, holding your hand and making sure you know everything you need to know when you need to know it, and to discuss options with you at the right time – then you, too, will be well-served by hiring a patient advocate or care manager.
Learn more about AdvoConnection and The Alliance of Professional Health Advocates