I recently read an article in The Wall Street Journal called “Screen Time for Doctors.” Reddy discussed a newly important topic in medicine: technology and patient care. Now-a-days, doctors and other health care professionals bring tablets into the exam room and electronic charting is pretty much all that is done in the hospital. This definitely saves time and makes healthcare records more easily accessible, but is it taking away from the fundamental patient-doctor relationship? Countless of studies have shown that patient satisfaction is correlated with compliance of treatment and overall better health.
JAMA Internal Medicine had some great tips to utilize the computers such as using the screen to educate patients with graphics and making sure to make eye contact and focus on the patient rather than just filling out their chart. This article really caught my eye because my medical school gave us all iPad minis that would fit in our white coat pocket so we can use them in the clinic and have resources like the Merck Manuals at our fingertips. However, we were taught and tested on getting a complete history from memory without bringing anything into the room. I personally think this is an important skill because it helps us focus on our patients. There is a lot you can pick up on just by observing patients as they talk and asking follow up questions beyond what is listed on the tablet. Of course the tablets are great for looking something up after speaking to a patient and I do believe they are essential to innovative healthcare. Nonetheless, human intuition and making personal connections is a great diagnostic tool that computer technology has not reached yet.