The Great Digital Divide

In my practice I am able to be small, mobile and responsive through the use of digital technology. I use electronic medical records. Patients can access their records, send me messages and check their labs via an encrypted, patient specific patient portal.

They can schedule their appointments online without the hassle of playing phone tag with a receptionist. Additionally they can pre-register, input and verify data into their electronic medical records.

The beauty of it all is that if makes everything easier and faster. It facilitates the visit meaning less paper work and processing in the waiting room. Copay and insurance eligibility can be checked in advance and payment with accompanying email receipt can be accomplished easily with the swipe of a card. This means is that the majority of their time in the office is spent face to face with me talking about their medical concern(s). It's good old fashion care facilitated and improved by technology.

Unfortunately, I have noticed that those availing themselves of these services are in the 20s and 30s. Those that need health care the most, older persons are less likely to use these services. It is relatively rare to see someone over the age of 40 years comfortable with what can easily be accomplished digitally. The use of smart phones, advances in tele-medicine, and digital innovation in healthcare may just have to wait until we older folks are more accepting. You can't force feed innovation.

Sharan Abdul-Rahman, MD

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