Friday, March 30, 2012

In Age of Gadgets, Doctors Try To Keep Human Touch

Neergaard, Lauran. "In Age of Gadgets, Doctors Try To Keep Human Touch." USA Today, March 29, 2012.

From the article: "As the United States moves to paperless medicine, doctors are grappling with an awkward challenge: How do they tap the promise of computers, smartphones and iPads in the exam room without losing the human connection with their patients? Are the gadgets a boon or a distraction?...Across the country at Stanford University this summer, medical students will bring a school-issued iPad along as they begin their bedside training — amid cautions not to get so lost in all the on-screen information that they pay too little attention to the patient.

Face your patient, excuse yourself to check the screen and put away the gadget when you don't really need it, say Stanford guidelines that specialists say make sense for physicians everywhere. And, of course, no personal Internet use in front of a patient.

Electronic health records, or EHRs, are considered the future of health care for good reason — they can help prevent medical errors. For example, the systems can warn if doctors are about to prescribe a drug that could interact badly with another one the patient already uses. As these computerized charts become more sophisticated, they also have the potential to spur more efficient care: no more getting another X-ray just because you forgot to bring in your last scan if the doctor can call it up digitally." Read more