A recent PWC report about mHealth shows that nearly half of physicians believe that this increasing independence presented by mHealth apps may shift the balance of power in the patient’s favor, leading to an erosion of the trust that’s so central to healthcare today. Thirteen percent of physicians actively discourage the use of mHealth apps among their patients.
“mHealth is about fundamentally changing the social contract between patients and doctors,” said Eric Dishman, Intel’s director of health innovation at the time of the 2012 PWC report. ”[Physicians are] likely to resist the loss of power implicit in greater patient control.”
There is a re-balancing of power, which means that doctors are going to have to rethink how they relate to their patients.
“The real solution to that last problem is not for physicians to discourage the use of mobile apps, it’s better patient education,” counters Paul Cerrato from InformationWeek Healthcare. “That means developing a trusting relationship with patients so that they believe you have their best interests at heart when you try to steer them away from untrustworthy mobile apps and websites. A growing number of doctors also welcome a shared decision-making process with their patients and see the doctor/patient relationship as a partnership.”
In short, mHealth apps is a trend towards democratization of power which means that doctors cannot simply command-and-expect-compliance, but must explain themselves and develop trust, or in other words, be more “HOW-like” in how they relate.