Physician, Heal thy... Technophobia

We here at T2 think that mobile health is the wave of the future. But, we also recognize that for many providers, the first hurdle is not in getting patients to use apps as part of their care – but in providers learning how to use their own devices in the first place!

The first step is admitting you have a problem
Let’s face it; most providers are trained to focus on people, not technology. They’d much rather sit down and have a face-to-face conversation than stare into a screen, typing furiously with their thumbs. So learning to use mobile devices seems alien from the get go. However, there are ways to make the learning process a lot less painful.

Start with the end in mind
One of the best ways to teach yourself anything is through project-based learning. Start with something you’d like to accomplish – for example, I want to stay on top of my finances, or better communicate with my patients, or get organized – and explore mobile apps that can help you accomplish a specific goal that’s relevant to you.

Many technology-related blogs have lists of top apps for iOS and Android in a variety of areas to help get you started.

Find a Mentor
At some point in time, you’ve probably told patients “It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help.” Well, physician, heal thyself!

People who are interested in technology love to help others who are genuinely interesting in learning. (Heck, I love this stuff so much, I’d sit down with every one of you if I could.) If you have an Apple store near you, they offer great tutorial classes on a regular basis. No Apple store? Try searching the Internet and community bulletin boards for a technology-related meeting or social group in your area that can help you learn to use your phone or tablet.

Just do it.
Taking the first step can be the most challenging part. Things seem so complicated that you’re afraid of breaking something. Don’t worry – you will break something sooner or later. I’ve had to reset my phone more times than I remember. But with plenty of apps to backup your numbers and information, this is less of a concern than you might think. So go ahead and poke around!

Why not start with one of our mobile apps?!

David Cooper, Psy.D. is a psychologist and Mobile Applications Lead at the National Center for Telehealth & Technology (T2).

The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the National Center for Telehealth & Technology, the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.


Read other posts by Dr. David Cooper