Balancing Technology and Tenderness: The Service of Healthcare

Balancing Technology and Tenderness: The Service of Healthcare
Balancing Technology and Tenderness: The Service of Healthcare


Narrator: 0:00

Welcome to the MedEvidence Monday Minute radio show hosted by Kevin Geddings of WSOS St. Augustine Radio and powered by ENCORE Research Group. Each Monday morning, Dr. Michael Koren calls in to bring you the latest medical updates with insightful discussions. MedEvidence is where we help you navigate the real truth behind medical research, with both a clinical and research perspective. So sit back, relax and get ready to learn about the truth behind the data in medicine and healthcare. This is MedEvidence.

Kevin Geddings: 0:30

Dr. Koren, how are you?

Dr. Michael Koren: 0:32

I'm doing well. Thank you, Kevin. How are you?

Kevin Geddings: 0:35

I'm doing well, I just told everybody that I messed up, I'm hitting the wrong button and I lost you. But I knew you would call back because well, you're smart, I have a smart phone.

Dr. Michael Koren: 0:44

I have a smart phone. Yeah,

Kevin Geddings: 0:49

Dr. Koren and I off the air were talking about service. You hear that a lot. When folks get together they talk about the lack of quality customer service in places, how automation is leading to kiosks at McDonald's and the like. But in your business, in the clinical research field, where you work with individuals, people that are listening to us this morning it's a very, very service- intensive process. I know that from personal experience, but maybe you can share a little bit about that?

Dr. Michael Koren: 1:11

Yeah, yeah, thank you for that question. So I would say that we are extremely high tech. Obviously, we're doing cutting edge medical research, but we're also very hands-on. So when you come into our offices, a human being will greet you, we will figure out why you're there immediately, we will get you to the person that you came to see virtually immediately, and throughout the process there is that human touch that is so important. So certainly, we use technology in a lot of our studies and we actually study technology. For example, we're doing a study right now, looking at an app to try to identify problems with patients with congestive heart failure. So we're doing that as we speak.

Dr. Michael Koren: 1:50

But throughout this process you get service, and you and I were just talking about that. People yearn for that. That's part of being human. So I was reading something over the weekend that I thought was pretty interesting, which stated that 16% of retail sales are now online, and I thought about that a little bit and I like to take the sort of contrarian point of view and I said huh, well, that means that 84% of retail sales are still brick and mortar. So when you think about it. We all walk around with our phones and we all walk around with access to computers, and yet 84% of what we do when we go shopping is in a bricks and mortar environment. What does that tell you? It tells you that people want the service and fortunately, people are able to get that type of service when they come into a research office.

Kevin Geddings: 2:40

Yeah, it makes a huge difference and we hear from folks on the flip side of that, right, Doctor? When people do get customer service and that sort of intense notion that somebody is actually listening to their concerns, they rave about it because it's increasingly rare service, because service is expensive for companies, let's face it.

Dr. Michael Koren: 3:06

So if you can automate something and it's self-serve, then that's an employee that a business doesn't have to pay.

Dr. Michael Koren: 3:09

But that experience is fundamentally different and people yearn for quote the old-fashioned way of actually having a human being help them. The other thing, Kevin, is that more and more in many, many different industries, we're relying on software, and the software doesn't always work that great. So when you think about it, does it make sense for a customer who's never touched or seen a piece of software to be navigating that software? Or is it better for an employee who's trained that software to do the navigation? And it's something I see over and over again where, literally, I have to go into a situation they ask me to pull up an app or something. It's impossible to pull up the app and it takes three or four people to figure out how to do it. And if the employee would have done that in the first place or been trained to do it in the first place, it would have been a much better experience for the customer and actually more efficient. So we're at an interesting time in terms of this push to automate everything, even things that maybe shouldn't be automated.

Kevin Geddings: 4:08

Yeah, no, it's very interesting and you're right. You do pose this sort of ultimate dichotomy right, where you're dealing with leading-edge research that could be medicines that may not be available for four or five years, and yet, at its core, when you go to ENCORE R esearch Center and I know from participating in clinical trials, it's as old school as it gets. You're sitting there with a healthcare provider talking about you know how you feel having somebody manually take your blood pressure. You know talk to you about what options are out there. I mean you feel like you're sitting with Marcus Welby, right?

Dr. Michael Koren: 4:37

No, exactly, and even something as simple as taking a blood pressure, there are errors that can occur. So you know interestingly, I think maybe in our research offices we're the last people that actually take the blood pressure, old-fashioned way, putting a stethoscope on somebody's body and taking a listen and you actually probably get more accurate readings that way, or you may miss an inaccurate reading which could concern a patient or actually have a negative effect on data. So when we actually measure things, we do it with a great deal of precision. So I like to tell people that we're all about being as high-tech as possible, that we marry that with just what people really like, which is to be heard, to have interactions with human beings and to actually get service.

Kevin Geddings: 5:23

Yeah, yeah. And also when you work with ENCORE Research, I can tell you from personal experience, people that enjoy their job, and that makes a whole bunch of difference too. You want to deal with customer service, people that actually want to be there. They actually want to be there to help you, and that makes a huge difference too, right, Dr. Koren?

Dr. Michael Koren: 5:37

Absolutely, well. I'm so fortunate to be in this situation where I actually get paid to develop these incredible new products, to share leading-edge data with the rest of the world, and to interact with patients and learn about their problems and often help them with solutions. So how can it be better than that?

Kevin Geddings: 5:56

Yeah, yeah. Well, once again, learn more about their approach with a focus on service, customer service, patient service. If you will, at ENCORE Research Center. Just go to the website ENCOREdocs. com. There are offices here in St. John's County, right across from UF Flagler Hospital in the Whetstone Building. They've been there for years. You can call them too, at 904-730-0166. They're recruiting for all sorts of clinical trials on all sorts of different health topics. But the best place to start is to go to the website or to call them, because once again you're going to talk to a live human being. Dr. Michael Koren, we appreciate you. Any closing thoughts?

Dr. Michael Koren: 6:35

No, thank you, Kevin. Just remind everybody about the MedEvidence platform. That's our platform to share information, and what you'll see on that is actually two human beings in many settings just talking about a medical problem, and people can glean a lot of information from that discussion. So check it out, I think you'll find it interesting. What we talk about is what we know in an area of medicine, what we don't know in an area of medicine, and how we're going to find out the things we don't know.

Kevin Geddings: 7:01

Yeah, Dr. Koren speaks of something that's really rare on the internet, which is healthcare information you can use, that you can trust, as opposed to just whatever you're going to find on Facebook or Google or TikToc. Go to MedEvidence. com. It's always fun to have Dr. K oren on because I can say Marcus Welby and not even have to say anything else, and he knows exactly what I'm talking about.

Dr. Michael Koren: 7:23

You know, the funny thing is that that's actually a little bit before our time. It is, it's out of it right?

Kevin Geddings: 7:27

Do you have a black bag, Dr. Koren?

Dr. Michael Koren: 7:31

No, actually, when I was going to medical school, that was already not stylish.

Kevin Geddings: 7:39

I'm not sure how old that is Dr. K oren.

Dr. Michael Koren: 7:41

We hope you have a good and my last word is that you know it was in the black bag. The old, traditional black bag from 100 years ago was typically some form of strong alcohol which, seriously, the doctors often used as a sedative or to help people relax because of their anxiety about getting the service which by the way, was often provided at people's homes which you almost never see anymore.

Kevin Geddings: 8:00

Oh, I know. Yeah, I remember when he would go to somebody's home. That was a great show. Dr. Koren, have a great week. Thank you for joining us.

Dr. Michael Koren: 8:08

Okay, be well, bye-bye.

Narrator: 8:09

Thanks for joining the MedEvidence podcast. To learn more, head over to MedEvidence. com or subscribe to our podcast on your favorite podcast platform.

Join the conversation where technology meets tenderness in healthcare, as Kevin Geddings hosts an illuminating discussion with Dr. Michael Koren from ENCORE Research Group. We unpack the vital balance between innovative medical tech and the timeless human touch that remains at the heart of patient care. Dr. Koren shares his expertise on why many still yearn for the brick-and-mortar experience, emphasizing the irreplaceable comfort and efficiency found in the personal approach—right down to the traditional method of taking blood pressure. Discover the profound impact of combining state-of-the-art research with the warmth of human interaction, resulting in unparalleled patient satisfaction and healthcare outcomes.

Tune in for a heartfelt tribute to the connection between healthcare providers and their patients, a bond that transcends time.

Be a part of advancing science by participating in clinical research

Recording Date: April 29, 2024
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Music: Storyblocks - Corporate Inspired