Today,  communication with our friends, coworkers and families is primarily been done via Facebook and email and it is not a surprise that many people in America also wish they would be able this way with their providers of health care services. John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health recently conducted a survey involving 2, 252 customers of pharmacies. Their survey showed that there exists a major gap between the expectations of patients and their health care providers when it comes to engagement and communication and exactly what they get.

Readiness for the future

According to this study, it is very clear that most patients are convinced that the healthcare industry has not readied itself for the future. The lead research, Lee noted that the healthcare industry has what is called as patient engagement paradox. On one hand, policymakers, doctors as well as researchers keep talking about the need of engaging patients while, on the other hand, Facebook has already engaged the patients with the online community in a major way. And instead of this connection being embraced, issues such as drawing professional boundaries and confidentiality keep on preoccupying medicine.

About 57% of the survey respondents were generally health, educated and use Facebook regularly. These patients expressed their great interest in the use of email and Facebook for communicating with their physicians while managing their health as well. About half of these respondents also confirmed that they were interested in accessing health information by using their physician’s websites. About a third of them confirmed communicating with their doctors regularly through email while 18% of them connected with their health care providers on Facebook. This is essentially a very surprising finding when you consider that most providers of health care have rules that bar the interaction mode with patients, mainly because of concerns about privacy as well as ethical guidelines.

Importance of Facebook and email communications

Caregivers and young adults as well as patients diagnosed with chronic conditions as well as regular users of Facebook had a high likelihood of communicating with their doctors through Facebook and email. Of course, he continued to emphasize of the critical importance of ensuring that patient’s information is properly safeguarded. However, there is need for organizations in the healthcare industry to come with ways of exploiting Facebook to the fullest and enjoying the benefits.

Tele-health movement seems to be gaining ground nowadays, and this is certainly something great. Nowadays, most healthcare organizations and doctors usually have electronic systems that can be used by patients for various things such as messaging as well as being able to access personal information and test results and most importantly, health tracking, all which has improved the health of Americans in a major way.