Yesterday, I was in Minneapolis where I delivered a presentation on future trends in healthcare at United Healthcare’s first-ever Health. Inspired! event. Today, I’m in Nashville, Tennessee to deliver a keynote on “Why Future Trends in Healthcare Will Require Unlearning.”
The two issues really fit together and this recent Technology Review article (The Virtual Nurse Will See You Now) explains why.
There can be little doubt that continued advances in computer processing power, Internet bandwidth, mobile web video-conferencing and sophisticated algorithms can deliver “virtual nurses” into patients’ rooms–and homes.
What is surprising — and what require some unlearning from healthcare professionals — is that many patients actually prefer the virtual nurse to real nurses!
Why? Because the patients don’t feel rushed or talked down to.
As the article explains, patients who see a virtual nurse also:
–More accurately reported their healthcare conditions (perhaps because they’re less embarrassed);
–Are more likely to know their diagnosis (because the virtual nurse used language they could more readily understand);
–Make a follow-up appointment (because the cost of a virtual nurse checking up on the patient was convenient and cost-effective); and
–Stay with their exercise/treatment regimen.
Virtual nurses won’t replace nurses but they can supplement their activities and help deliver better and more cost-effective care. The only question is whether today’s healthcare professionals can unlearn the idea that the way they have always delivered care is the only — or even the best — way to deliver that care.
Other posts by Healthcare Futurist Jack Uldrich: