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The Rise of the Empowered Physician in the Digital Health Era: Viewpoint.

Mesko, Bertalan; Gyorffy, Zsuzsa.
J Med Internet Res; 21(3): e12490, 2019 03 26.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | Mar 2019 | ID: mdl-30912758
Resumo: Being a 21st-century health care provider is extremely demanding. The growing number of chronic diseases, lack of medical workforce, increasing amounts of administrative tasks, the cost of medical treatment, and rising life expectancy result in an immense challenge for medical professionals. This transformation has been triggered by the growing presence of digital health. Digital health does not only refer to technological transformation; it also fundamentally reshapes the physician-patient relationship and treatment circumstances. We argue that patient empowerment, the spread of digital health, the biopsychosocial-digital approach, and the disappearance of the ivory tower of medicine lead to a new role for physicians. Digital health allows the job of being a medical professional to become more rewarding and creative. The characteristics of a physician-as-idol could shift from self-confident to curious, from rule follower to creative, and from lone hero to team worker. Empowered physicians (e-physicians) can be described as "electronic," where they use digital technologies in their practice with ease; "enabled," where they are enabled by regulations and guidelines; and "empowered," where they are empowered by technologies that support their job and their empowered patients (e-patients). They can be described as "experts" in the use of technologies in their practice or in knowing the best, most reliable, and trustworthy digital health sources and technologies. They can also be described as "engaged," when understanding the feelings and points of view of their patients, giving relevant feedback, and involving them throughout the whole healing process. The skills and approaches that characterize this era of e-physicians, such as face-to-face communication skills, digital literacy, interdisciplinarity, knowing where to find information, translating large amounts of data into insights for patients, among others, should always have been at the core of practicing medicine. However, the economical, technological, and administrative burden of the profession has not made it possible for most physicians to enjoy the benefits of their training, individual capabilities, and creativity. By understanding how digital health technologies can support or augment their capabilities, physicians would have the chance to practice the art of medicine like never before.