Is your doctor a technophobe? Increasingly, the answer may be no. There’s a stereotype that says doctors shun technology that might threaten patients’ privacy and their own pocketbooks. But a new breed of physicians is texting health messages to patients, tracking disease trends on Twitter, identifying medical problems on Facebook pages and communicating with patients through email.
So far, those numbers are small. Many doctors still cling to pen and paper, and are most comfortable using e-technology to communicate with each other ”” not with patients. But from the nation’s top public health agency, to medical clinics in the heartland, some physicians realize patients want more than a 15-minute office visit and callback at the end of the day.
Far from Silicon Valley and East Coast high-tech hubs, Kansas City pediatrician Natasha Burgert offers child-rearing tips on her blog, Facebook and Twitter pages, and answers patients’ questions by email and text messages.