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Doctor-Patient Relationship Humanized By Touch

I’ve written previously that many doctors are finding the physical exam obsolete, and are favoring more technologically-advanced, and expensive, tests. In fact, I alluded to traditional physical exam advocates as “arguing for staying with a horse and buggy when cars are rapidly becoming available.”

In a recent piece from the New York Times, internist Danielle Ofri says we need to look past the lack of evidence supporting the physical exam. The benefits of touching the patient, and listening to his heart and lungs, cannot be quantitatively measured:

Does the physical exam serve any other purpose? The doctor-patient relationship is fundamentally different from, say, the accountant-client relationship. The laying on of hands sets medical practitioners apart from their counterparts in the business world. Despite the inroads of evidence-based medicine, M.R.I.s, angiograms and PET scanners, there is clearly something special, perhaps even healing, about touch. There is a warmth of connection that supersedes anything intellectual, and that connection goes both ways in the doctor-patient relationship.

Great point. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at*

Advances In Telemedicine Ease Patient Care

Ralph Terenzio, a patient with the Center for Connected Health, checks his blood pressure using remote monitoring equipment.Monitoring vital signs remotely saves time and money for everyone: patients, physicians, facilities and insurers. Heart failure is a particular target because its increasingly common, its easily triggered (by as little as too much salt on food, for example), it costs so much to manage in the hospital, and it’s so easily avoided.

Remote monitoring equipment made even easier with wireless connections can take vital signs, and even ask standard questions every morning. The equipment puts patients in contact with nurses once they detect warning signs. That human touch is key. Case managers can screen out false alarms (avoiding alert fatigue) and can direct patients to the physician when needed. ACP Internist covered remote monitoring technology in its March issue. (Wall Street Journal, ACP Internist) Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

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