The digital revolution will have a profound impact on how physicians and health care delivery organizations interact with patients and the community at-large. Over the coming decades, face-to-face patient/doctor contacts will become less common and exchanges between consumers and providers will increasingly be mediated by electronic devices. In highly developed health care systems like those in Israel, the United States, and Europe, most aspects of the health care and consumer health experience are becoming supported by a wide array of technology such as electronic and personal health records (EHRs and PHRs), biometric & telemedicine devices, and consumer-focused wireless and wired Internet applications. In an article in this issue, Peleg and Nazarenko report on a survey they fielded within Israel's largest integrated delivery system regarding patient views on the use of electronic communication with their doctors via direct-access mobile phones and e-mail. A previous complementary paper describes the parallel perspectives of the physician staff at the same organization. These two surveys offer useful insights to clinicians, managers, researchers, and policymakers on how best to integrate e-mail and direct-to-doctor mobile phones into their practice settings. These papers, along with several other recent Israeli studies on e-health, also provide an opportunity to step back and take stock of the dramatic impact that information & communication technology (ICT) and health information technology (HIT) will have on clinician/patient communication moving forward. The main goals of this commentary are to describe the scope of this issue and to offer a framework for understanding the potential impact that e-health tools will have on provider/patient communication. It will be essential that clinicians, managers, policymakers, and researchers gain an increased understanding of this trend so that health care systems around the globe can adapt, adopt, and embrace these rapidly evolving digital technologies.
Weiner, J. P. (2012, August 28). Doctor-patient communication in the e-health era. Israel Journal of Health Policy Research. BioMed Central Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1186/2045-4015-1-33