Thursday, 24 March 2016 19:42

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In his video, Thomas Goetz addresses how healthcare professional can exploit some underutilized resources (people). He states that people have failed to utilize information dispensed to them. This has posed a major challenge in management of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity which require behavior change. According to Thomas Goetz, behavior change is a long standing problem in healthcare. Despite doctors and other healthcare professionals depending on behavior change, there is little that is being done to change the worrying state of the situation. Doctors should strive to give information that educate, inform and help patients make better decisions and choices in life.

Thomas Goetz sites dentistry as one of the medicine fields that have effectively used behavior change to improve preventive health. He gives an example of Connecticut study where researchers studied a cohort the of population. In the research, efficacy rather than fear was demonstrated as the main force behind behavior change. The sense of efficacy as the driving force behind behavior change was also demonstrated by Bandura, who concluded that if a person believes they have the potential to change their behavior, and then they are more likely to adopt the positive behavior.

Therefore, in healthcare, the attitude and conviction of the patient is a strong force behind betting better. However, healthcare practitioners are not able to manipulate this concept among patients. Thomas Goetz notes that instead of using fear to pass behavior change information, healthcare practitioners should use personalized information. It is crucial for healthcare providers to give client specific information pertaining the potential outcome of their condition. They should connect personalized data with the lives of the patient.

Information should always be connected with emotions and actions. Despite the importance of personalized data in healthcare, many institutions have challenges in gathering and maintaining such information. There is lack of a complete feedback system between action and information given. Healthcare practitioners do not use the information to achieve the desired change. Thomas Goetz contrast how commercial adverts are craftily made compared to behavior change adverts, which are poorly done. Lack of good faith in the development and dissemination of health information is a major challenge. He gives a classical example of Scwatz and Woloshin, who used pharmaceutical advert to reach out the audience.

The advert gave particular information that relates to the audience. The audience is given information on the effectiveness of the drug, and then given choices. To describe how packaging of information is crucial, Thomas Goetz gives another example of lab test results. Lab report results are presented in a way that makes them unclear, not only for patients, but also to doctors. However, a proper presentation of the same lab report can be used to change behaviors among client. Thomas Goetz explains how itemization of the report can be effective in passing the relevant information. Healthcare providers can also use other strategies to simply and consequently personalized information. Through simplified versions of blood and CRP tests, Thomas Goetz demonstrates how healthcare providers can improve how they communicate with patients, and how they can use the information to influence decisions and choices made patients.

Personalization of risks while conducting PSA test is another effective way information can be used to communicate effective with patients. Identifying targets of any information is crucial in deciding how it will be packaged and passed. In conclusion, Thomas Goetz argues practitioners and patients to develop feedback report, which helps breaking down of information into understandable units that will help in decision making.

Healthcare is undergoing a massive transformation in terms of technologies, procedures, treatments and medications. Healthcare providers are expected to adopted these new technologies and procedures in their daily activities (Barbara, 2002). Use of technology in healthcare has increased efficiency in management of patient information. Electronic health records has transformed management of health records and consequently saved a lot of time. Physician have been given able time with patient because they do not have to saunter from one part of the hospital to other searching for a client’s information.

However, the revolutionary concept of technology in healthcare is not with challenge. Many healthcare institutions are adopting new technology to gain a competitive edge. Purchase and installation of some of these electronic devices is costing healthcare facilities a lot of money. Technology use is also being hampered by social factors such as the age of the physicians. With the use of EHR, maintenance of patient privacy has become a huge challenge.

Healthcare facilities and practitioners depend heavily on effective communication to achieve behavior change or even help patient decide. However, most health information is being communicated in unorganized, complex and not user friendly manner. There is a need to change the way information is packaged in healthcare setup. Physician should use language that is easy to understand, personalize information, offer specific and precise information that will help the patient understand the alternatives they have so as they can make informed decisions.

Thomas Goetz: It's time to redesign medical data. Retrieved from
Barbara L. M. (2002). Medical Informatics for Better and Safer Health Care. Retrieved on 17/6/2013

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 Dr. Michelle Robert

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