Much of health care depends on relationships. What do people at the center of care and professionals in health care look for in their relationship? Much as with any relationship – access when needed, exchange of information, listening, respect, speaking the same language, understanding each other’s values and priorities, follow through. Relationships depend on access to each other – particularly tough in health relationships. Little natural about it with very different lives, different patterns, different circles, different priorities. In our personal lives we take access for granted. We know family habits and patterns. On the job we work in teams and routinely meet, our paths cross. In health relationships, not so much. Professional serve lots of people and people work with lots of health team members, many of them strangers – hence appointments and leaving messages. Kind of amazing that health relationships depend on direct connection. Why don’t we depend on asynchronous communication (NOT connecting in person or by voice, NOT in real-time). Examples include emails sent and read when each person has time; open notes (professional narrative entries into the medical record that people at the center of care can read via portal), and taping appointment and phone conversations for review after the fact with other health team members.
Technology can support asynchronous communication if people on both sides of the relationship are comfortable. Some are exceedingly uncomfortable. Especially challenging may be the change in skill set and habits. Some people at the center of care and professionals struggle with new technology or have no time to learn new technology – sometimes, but not always its generational. Changing habits can be tough for anyone. Why change? I don’t want anyone looking over my shoulder! This app makes no sense, I don’t have time to learn it. I’ve learned to use it, but it doesn’t contain information important to me.
How do you use asynchronous communication for your health?