Last month, I was fortunate to moderate a virtual eTown Hall webcast with four of our physician colleagues. The setting was a bit unusual for your average doctor. We broadcast live from a windowless recording studio in front of bright lights and cameras. We could not “see” the many guests who were watching our presentations from their computers at locations throughout the region. For the open forum part of the event, attendees e-mailed their questions to us, so that we could address them promptly while still “on the air.”

Welcome to the modern world of physician and provider engagement. We want to engage with you, and need to do so in a manner that is not simply convenient for us, but convenient for you. After all, you are the ones who stay so busy juggling the demands of patient care and family life.

We recognize that relationships require work. As such, the Carolinas HealthCare System physician and provider leadership team is working hard to strengthen relationships within our medical community. This is a big challenge – to say the least – when there are literally thousands of us working at hundreds of different locations in several states. That is why we’re using technology – through our eTown Hall webcasts – to communicate more effectively. We want to update you on top System initiatives and, most importantly, hear from you during the open forum part of the event. Stay tuned for future virtual eTown Hall forums later this year.

Technology, of course, is not limited to internal communications. It is also being used to build better relationships with our patients so we can improve our care for them beyond our walls.

Technology is an integral part of keeping our large footprint integrated and ensuring that every patient – no matter where they live – is connected with the System. Not only does our EMR system connect their health records, but telemedicine and other virtual platforms enhance our capabilities for timely diagnosis and treatment.

Of course, many people are fearful that the ultimate impact of this reliance on technology will be a reduction in meaningful personal interaction. I would highlight the flipside, however, which is that a faster exchange of information often allows physicians to develop a more meaningful dialogue with their patients.

Thank you for participating in our quest to build meaningful relationships not only with our patients, but one another.

As always, I am grateful for all that you do for our patients, colleagues and community.