Healthcare Technology Featured Article

December 13, 2012

Plastic Surgeon Makes the Waiting Room Educational with TouchMD

Normally a stay in a physician's waiting room is greeted with groans, eye-rolls and an opportunity to use the latest technology as a carefully carved-out appointment time skates merrily by. But for Dr. James A. Matas, an Orlando plastic surgeon, it's an opportunity to deliver the latest in medical information to his patients and his potential patients alike. To that end, he's recently brought in TouchMD technology, a system that will allow him to get the word out about procedures while patients wait to see him.

TouchMD technology is a software package that allows patients to research the effects of various plastic surgeries. For instance, users can see the effects of things like tummy tucks and face lifts and consider if such a surgery is right for them while they sit and wait in a doctor's office. Matas, who is board-certified in Orlando, installed the system believing that the more information patients have, the better the overall effect for both doctors and patients as both can better communicate.

Additionally, Dr. Matas considers software like TouchMD a tool that he can use to communicate with the patients themselves, guiding them through certain procedures by showing them how they work, as well as to provide visual aids in regards to areas of the body on which procedures will be performed. Dr. Matas can even open up TouchMD to a Web portal, allowing patients to consult the software when they're not specifically in his office.

It's considered a step up from time-killers like magazines and television, and indeed, it certainly would be. Many doctors are already finding that patients are gathering their own information about surgical procedures and illnesses with their iPhones, and seeing accompanying gains in overall efficiency and better communication to match. While not necessarily every patient is going to make productive use of a waiting room stay to educate themselves about medical procedures, it's still a smart idea to offer the ability to do so. After all, better communication commonly leads to improved efficiency--as doctors are discovering with iPhones on both sides of the doctor / patient relationship--and improved efficiency, if applied long enough over an entire system, commonly leads to cost savings and improved experiences, which spurs repeat business.

So while TouchMD may well never replace magazines, television, and an ever-increasing number of mobile entertainment options available at the press of a touchscreen, it certainly will bring a lot of help to certain parts of a patient roster. That only improves things for the entire system.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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