Medical consultants, physicians who offer empathic and positive messages to patients can reduce their pain, lower the amount of morphine that is needed, and improve recovery after surgery – says research. However, telling simple things to patients such as ‘this drug will reduce pain’ will not have an effect.
What can help patients are positive messages that are usually definite, repeated, specific, and personal. And, the message needs to be delivered by an authority figure who exhibits empathy. While, the study lacks to identify most effective elements of a positive message – the study sample being small – the results imply certain facts. For example, a positive message that is not personalized, and is communicated by a physician who lacks empathy and authority, will not have the desired effect.
Virtual Care viable for increasing elderly Population
What does this imply for digitally assisted consultations that range from telephone appointments to carebots? This is an important consideration as carebots are being looked upon as a cost-effective way to deal with the need to render care for the increasing elderly population in the world.
Amidst COVID-19, the use of digitally assisted consultations has increased. And, patients will not go back for in-person consultations after the pandemic, claims the UK health secretary. Meanwhile, online medical consultations are different from carebots consultations, the trend of consultation without human-to-human interaction is pacing up. Both online consultation and carebots consultation have been fast rolled out for the development of ethical frameworks.
Nonetheless, in the digital age, assuming from evidence that positive messages help patients is both technically and ethically problematic. While some elements of a positive message can be directly delivered via a mobile phone, video call, or a carebot, there seems some inherent problems for others. For example, the feeling of authority comes from the title of the doctor, which is presumably same whether it is face-to-face or over the telephone.