Sumary of Emoji are proposed as a powerful way for patients and doctors to communicate:
- Emoji, that universal lexicon of colorful and clever symbols meant to replace the written and spoken word, could be a valuable tool in the field of medicine, allowing patients to better communicate symptoms, concerns, and other clinically relevant information, argue a Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) physician and others.
- In a commentary in the Journal of the American Medical Association, senior author Shuhan He, MD, an emergency department attending, suggests that each medical discipline begin discussions around the creation of its own unique set of iconography for official adoption and incorporation into everyday practice.
- “The need to listen to patients is at the core of our mission as physicians, and the use of emoji is a great opportunity to take communication to another level,” says He, who is director of growth for the MGH Center for Innovation in Digital HealthCare and a member of MGH’s Lab of Computer Science.
- “It’s tempting to dismiss emoji as a millennial fad, but they possess the power of standardization, universality and familiarity, and in the hands of physicians and other health care providers could represent a new and highly effective way to communicate pictorially with patients,” says He.
- In emergency medical settings where time is critical, emoji could lead to a point-and-tap form of communication that could facilitate important clinical decisions, he adds.
- In addition, the recent growth of telemedicine could be a rich opportunity for emoji to make medical inroads.
- The interactive platform is seen as particularly well suited for patients to transmit to health care providers visual information that charts the intensity of pain they have experienced over a period of days, weeks or months, and for those providers to make it part of the patient’s digital health record for ongoing treatment.
- “It’s clear that emoji have become part of the global, mainstream conversation, and that medical societies and physician committees and organizations need to take them seriously,” says He.