Does Technology for Doctors Depersonalize Patient Visits?

October 20, 2011
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Some senior doctors are worried that the use of technology will cause medical care to become depersonalized. Sadly , it’s true that there are doctors who spend more time looking at the computer screen and entering data into the electronic medical record, rather than talking to the patient. I think this is tragic and it actually represents a misuse of the technology .

Some senior doctors are worried that the use of technology will cause medical care to become depersonalized. Sadly , it’s true that there are doctors who spend more time looking at the computer screen and entering data into the electronic medical record, rather than talking to the patient. I think this is tragic and it actually represents a misuse of the technology .

The whole point of the electronic medical record is to allow the doctor to capture, store record and retrieve the data when he needs it afterwards – not while he’s talking to the patient . A well-designed electronic medical record system should allow the doctor to look at the patient , talk to the patient , examine the patient and then record his findings later on , rather than instead of talking to the patient.

The intelligent use of technology actually allows doctors to amplify their efficiency and their efficacy , so they can leverage the limited amount of time which they have with the patient.
Just because some doctors misuse technology is no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

We need to develop tools which doctors can intelligently used to increase satisfaction both for themselves and for their patients. For example, the appropriate use of technology would be create patient educational videos which the patient could watch before the consultation, and even afterwards, so that a lot of the basic explanation does not need to be done by the doctor himself. This kind of basic information transfer can be done more efficiently by a well-designed video , which will cover all the important points so the doctor can document that the patient has understood the key basics, and then he can spend his ( limited) with the patient focusing exclusively on the important stuff which the patient wants clarified.

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