The doctor-patient relationship is the most important component of ongoing care. It is the basis of medical practice, sustaining care, providing comfort, relief of pain and the basis of the patient’s trust in his or her care. While patients have always talked with their physician and health care providers in person, they now can “talk” via telephone, email, Twitter, texting and teleconferencing.
Wide arrays of communication technologies have evolved to now become integral components of modern healthcare delivery. A number of tools and applications are poised to change the way physicians and patients interact, and in that way potentially change the nature and quality of the doctor-patient relationship. The internet, social networking and smart phones can complement, and even extend, healthcare communications that once ceased at the end of an office encounter. Now, with ever expanding ways to share, military and civilian populations alike are expanding access and have the potential for ongoing communication, support and information sharing beyond the traditional medical settings.