AAPA Impact 2014 in Boston

I had the opportunity to spend the last few days in Boston at the Annual AAPA Conference where I enjoyed meeting many of you, learning about your practices and careers, your communities, and ongoing educational journeys, in addition to listening to your stories about how this ever-changing digital era is continually modifying the ways in which you interact with your patients and colleagues, and navigate through your everyday lives. It was exciting to hear that so many of your patients have grown to expect you to use email and a tablet, to have their test results accessible to them online and in a timely manner, and to offer them credible online resources, not just if they ask for them, but all of the time, as a part of their routine care. A few years ago, our patients may have cringed at the thought of us using technology so fluidly in our practices, but just as fast as technology has changed, so too have our patient’s perspectives and expectations regarding it, forcing us to follow cue.

Working for a healthcare company on the forefront of the digital world…one that’s creating something so innovative and different from any other patient educational resource that I’ve ever seen…is continually reminding me of how important it is for all of us, not just as healthcare professionals but also as everyday laypersons, to stay on the frontline of the up and coming. Being aware of, and cognizant of, and willing to try, and then use the resources available to us, offers up such a drastic advantage in understanding and overcoming whatever it is we may be facing. Whether it’s an issue pertaining to our patient’s health, an issue regarding our own health, or something completely unrelated to healthcare at all, being educated and informed about the issue at hand is, and always has been, the tool that offers us the best chance at obtaining the resources we need to walk us through it.

So, for me, it was great to see so many of you at the conference, regardless of your age, practice location, or the type of medicine that you are practicing, open to trying out and using, not just the Liberate App, but so many new forms of technology that have the potential to improve the quality of healthcare our patients receive. We live in a continually changing world, as it’s always been, but now more than ever, with the directives of the Affordable Care Act, it’s nice to see that most of us have come to appreciate how crucial it is to be open to change as it occurs.

On Monday morning, Liberate Health hosted a Breakfast Product Theatre where our CEO, Richard Nordstrom, presented a lecture on the illusion that effective communication between healthcare providers and patients actually takes place.  His point was paramount. If our patients aren’t hearing what we’re saying, if they’re not comprehending our words, or the significance behind them, we’re not communicating with them. That’s the short of it. They’re not receiving acceptable healthcare. They’re not receiving the treatment plan they came to you for, or the one that they deserve. Now, surely, no amount of technology will ensure that our patients hear and understand us but certainly it’s our job to try and do everything we can to make sure that this happens. The concept behind the Liberate App, it’s simple yet relatable infographics, and just the dialogue that the App is opening up within our PA community about healthcare communication is a good starting point for all of us to go to and re-evaluate how we communicate with our patients and how we might go about improving our communication tactics so as to better serve our patients.

I had a great time in Boston, seeing the city, attending the Gala, running the streets in the Boston rain, enjoying the food, the nightlife and the educational experience. I hope that you did, too.  I wish you all safe travels back to your homes, and hope that what you learned in Boston is something you’re able to use back at your practices to better your patient’s lives.