Vitals and the impact of patient care in office visits.
How often have you left your doctor’s office thinking I should have asked him this question or why didn’t the doctor ask me that. Think about your typical doctor’s appointment: 2 minutes to measure your weight and height; 2 minutes to obtain your blood pressure; another five for practitioner specific data like medications you are taking or now COVID related questions. We’re 9 minutes into the appointment if all goes well. Remember, insurance pushes doctors to limit your facetime so when treating patients, time matters.
Imagine if those 9 minutes where spent asking you more questions. Those 9 minutes could allow a doctor more time to ask personal questions to see you as a person with an ailment not just vitals. This would also allow a patient to feel more comfortable, to be seen. Wouldn’t it be more likely you’d talk about more personal things happening in your life that could be impacting your health? Would you feel less nervous or anxious in the office? Would this give the doctor space to comfort and calm the patient? The more time to have one on one conversation the more likely an accurate diagnosis will be made and something not missed.
Ironically, the medical industry has had a way to solve this for several years, but it took the COVID-19 crisis to make it happen at scale. Doctors are turning to telemedicine devices that can remotely monitor everything from blood pressure to glucose levels to weight. Because when treating patients, time matters.
Patients can now take their vitals at home and provide them to the doctor prior to the appointment which saves time when the doctor is treating you. Indeed, the doctor is now armed with all the data they need prior to starting your appointment.
The technology isn’t new. Portable testing devices armed with cellular chips matched with affordable fast internet have been around since XYZ. But neither patients nor doctors felt compelled to change entrenched habits. The COVID pandemic has turned this inside out, as it has done to so much of our lives.