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Bringing Warmth and Empathy to Digital Health

Bringing Warmth and Empathy to Digital Health

By Marc Harrison, MD

Aug 3, 2017

Updated Nov 17, 2023

5 min read


There are many priorities in healthcare—heal patients, make appointments convenient, adopt proven technologies, and many others. Healthcare consumers want digital tools to help them manage their own health, but they also want a warm, empathetic touch from a caring human. Although these priorities might appear to be at odds with each other, I believe they can be complementary, and even synergistic, if we approach them the right way.

We must ensure patients receive high-quality care while sticking close to loved ones, which may be the most empathetic thing we can do for them. Providing them with the right access at the right time is key.

Recommended for you: 7 Healthcare Misconceptions

In a recent guest post I contributed I shared how high-tech and high-touch work together – see the full Healthcare Informatics article. Here are a few reminders as we move forward with quality care in the digital age:
  • As healthcare transforms to better accommodate patients’ needs, more care will be delivered outside of hospitals and clinics, including at patients’ homes. 
  • We believe that as digital healthcare gets better and better, we'll be able to keep many more patients out of our hospitals and clinics to heal in places where they feel more comfortable. 
  • The most important questions we can ask: "What do you want as your life goals from a health standpoint? Do you want to make it to your daughter's graduation? Do you want to see your grandson get married? Do you want to be able to climb a flight of stairs? Would you like to be able to go fishing again? Do you want to be able to drive your own car?"