“Why does the Doctor need to see the Patient?”

This is a question we sometimes get asked when demonstrating the 3G Doctor service. Experience is showing us that there is a number of very good reasons but another one just came out of some research published by Dr Yehonatan Turner of Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.

His research involved showing CT Scan images alongside a photo of the patients face. The finding was that there were significant improvements in performance amongst Doctors who were shown a patient’s picture when they opened up an electronic file.

The study evaluated the quality of reports on 318 patients who underwent CT scans and review by 15 radiologists and reported:

> Without a facial photograph, Doctors missed incidental findings 80% of the time
> With a facial photograph, Doctors are more meticulous and aggressive at looking for suspicious findings.
> Adding a photo had a positive impact on a radiologist’s performance
> the photo seems to remind them that it’s not just a case which makes Radiologists more mindful of what is at stake for patients
> In a questionnaire, all of the radiologists said viewing the photos made them feel more empathy for the patients.

3gdoctor CT image (model)

It’s interesting that in spite of all the training something as simple as a facial photograph can have such an effect. It may be humbling to admit it but isn’t it obvious that we’re only starting to be able to imagine the Doctor/Patient benefits of remote video consulting?

Read more at E-Health Europe and CNN/Health

About David Doherty

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6 Responses to “Why does the Doctor need to see the Patient?”

  1. JS-DC says:

    I wonder what happens if the person in the photo is clearly identifiable as a Palestinian.

  2. JS-DC says:

    Not at all. I’m just pointing out that people sometimes respond in a positive way to others’ appearance and sometimes in a negative way. It is well documented that empathy varies according to stereotyping, and has been particularly investigated in job applicants and interviews: people with identical resumes and qualifications were judged differently at interviews in a way highly correlated with race of interviewer and interviewee. I am suggesting that it is at least plausible that that might come into play here, as well.

  3. Pingback: NHS Direct AGM makes the move online « 3G Doctor Blog

  4. Pingback: “So, exactly why would one need to video call a doctor vs. just talking to them?” « 3G Doctor Blog

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