Computer Skills For DoctorsFebruary 15, 2014
The abilities to use a stethoscope, draw blood, stitch up wounds, and manipulate the human body are given in the medical profession, but did you know that a doctor’s ability to navigate computer technology is just as important to the work? Computer skills won’t necessarily help your patients directly, but they are an important component to your daily responsibilities as a doctor.
It’s been frequently said that the younger generation has embraced technology and its accompanying changes much quicker than older generations, but is it the right technology that will help you work effectively in the medical profession. Here are some key computer skills that burgeoning medical professionals should possess:
Email: While the phone will long be a primary mode of communication in the medical profession, email provides immediate communication between doctors and medical staff. The effective use of email cannot be stressed enough as a crucial job skill. If you want to take you patient care to another level, you may even give your email address to your patients. This unfettered access to your professional opinion might become burdensome, and you are unlikely to be reimbursed for these informal patient-doctor interactions, but the level of service you provide via email may be a deciding factor for patients who might otherwise seek out another doctor to hear out their medical concerns.
Internet Research: It is useful for doctors to know how to effectively navigate the web. Patients often come into the doctor’s office armed with internet advice, information, and most importantly – MISINFORMATION. A doctor who can quickly locate these sources of information will be able to counteract the poor advice that his patient has brought into the office. In addition, continued medical education also happens in an online environment. Knowing how to upload and download information that relates to a doctor’s licensing and certification is crucial to continuing to practice.
Electronic Medical Records: These days, the entire world is going digital. Medical records, a foundation in patient care, are being converted from paper to electronic bits. Doctors must be ready for this transition and be willing to make mistakes and deal with frustrations as these systems are implemented. Implicit in the area of electronic medical records is a doctor’s word processing ability. Typing accurately and with speed is critical to work flow; a doctor who has not learned how to word-process with speed and correctness will find him/herself at a disadvantage as electronic medical records become the norm in medical practices across the country.
Social Media: Self-promotion via social media continues to grow in importance. As more patients turn to the web for information, a doctor’s online reputation becomes one of the first things that patients learn about their physician. If you have no online presence, that is not necessarily problematic at this juncture; however, in our changing digital world, your social media participation may become more important. It’s never too early to cultivate and curate your personal presentation on the Internet. You may even become the next Doctor Oz!
Doctors are expected to stay current on the latest medical advances and treatments. Let the power of technology be your ally in providing world-class patient care. — Post by Madelaine Kingsbury.