Sunday, February 19, 2017
Exhibit Hall (Hynes Convention Center)
Marika Psyhojos, MIT, Cambridge, MA
Background: Aging is an increasingly disruptive force in the US—25% of Americans will be 60 by 2025. To best treat older adults, health professionals will incorporate patient-generated data from the Internet of Things (IoT) to evaluate treatment options, compliance, and overall patient well-being. It is not understood how these technologies will affect physician empathy and, in turn, patient health behaviors. Previous studies of IoT data in health settings have been anchored in providers’ concerns over work flow and electronic health record integration. Few have considered how IoT data will affect provider empathy and transform the outdated “physician-patient relationship” into a relationship that champions technology as an essential component of health care interactions. Methods: Through a ~70 question trans-specialist survey of regional MDs, DOs, NPs, RNs, PAs, and medical students on their use of patient-generated data, this study examines the technological and institutional factors that affect patient and provider interactions. Results: Medical professionals expect IoT data to increase patient agency but to decrease provider empathy. More than 75% of health care providers expect patient-generated data to help in the development of a plan of action with their patient, and 86% of providers expect patient-generated data to help the patient take control of his or her own health. Only 43% of providers expect patient-generated data to help them show care and compassion towards their patients. With regards to geriatric patients, 61% of providers expect IoT data to help older adults recall habits or patterns, while only 11% of providers expect that referencing the data could address older adults’ feeling of lacking support. Conclusions: The results nod to patients’ trade of support for health agency. The physician-patient relationship is a health safety net. Increased patient agency could precipitate profound health benefits. Future research should weigh the magnitude of these health benefits against the magnitude of sacrificing such a safety net. Just under 50% of providers currently consider it their job to analyze patient-generated data, suggesting uncertainty about how the profession will respond to an imminent technological transition. Is the physician-patient relationship of the future one in which physicians use technology to meaningfully communicate with patients, or one in which empathy is degraded by data?