By Donna Parker
When Dr. Jeff Livingston, who received a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Trinity in 1995, isn’t busy seeing patients in person in his Dallas-area OB/GYN practice, he’s still communicating with them via Twitter, Facebook and his Web site that invites patient interaction. It’s a new twist on the traditional doctor visit.
“As doctors, we can use technology to promote better patient relationships and extend the time we spend with patients while improving the level of interaction. My physician group is an early adoptor and the media is starting to notice,” says this tech-savvy doctor.
Jeff recently spoke in Washington, D.C., at the 2010 Health Goes to Washington conference where he briefed other doctors and the press on the benefits of incorporating social media into the traditional practice of medicine, via online tools. He explained to them that leveraging this technology allows doctors to get a lot of health information out to many people in a short period of time, further connecting the doctor and patient.
“I usually tell colleagues who want to hang onto the old ways that, before a patient sees you, she’s already gone on the Internet, tried to figure out what’s wrong with her, checked your online reviews, saw you as a patient—then, gone back on the Internet to see if you knew what you were talking about,” laughs Jeff.
Macarthur OB/GYN, Jeff’s home practice, has been using electronic health records for five years and is a completely paperless office. Patients can visit the online portal, creating an account that offers them 24-hour access to their health records—a novel concept when you consider how many forms most patients fill out each and every time they visit the doctor.
“Our patients can schedule their appointments online, refill their prescriptions, check lab results and then visit Facebook or Twitter if they have further questions or want to view shared information.”
Jeff, who sees many pregnant teens in his practice, says his ability to integrate his creative side with the science of medicine, enables him to teach these young moms in a way that makes sense to them by providing user-friendly information that they can easily access on their own tool of choice—their cell phones.
“You know, I think back to Trinity days and Dr. Matthew Stroud, department of modern languages and literatures, who taught me to think about the world in different ways and think about people in different ways. He exposed me to creative thinking and I credit him with a lot of who I am, even today. In addition, because I have so many Spanish-speaking patients, I mentally thank Dr. Jean Chittenden, department of modern languages and literatures, quite often for teaching me how to speak that language.”
Jeff, who has four children himself; Jaclyn, 22; Max, 5; Lily, 2 and Lucy, 6 months, is married to a former labor and delivery nurse who understands his passion for practicing medicine that goes a step beyond the very traditional.
“We are committed to what’s ahead in merging medicine and technology. I got a good liberal arts education at Trinity which prepared me for the fact that medicine is not just about seeing patients, but it’s about understanding their needs and remaining in constant communication.”
You may contact Jeff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After reading this story if you feel strongly about any Trinity alumni who the Alumni Office should profile in future AlumNet issues, please submit your suggestions. We are looking for suggestions in these four categories: 1) recent grads, 2) grads who innovate, 3) grads in business, and 4) grads who serve the world. Feel free to nominate yourself if you fall in these categories. -- AlumNet Moderator