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The Distracted Provider!

The article Is Your Doctor's Distraction a Good Thing tackles a complex problem in the era of the electronic medical record.

A major ongoing complaint is my doctor never listened to anything the patient said. Add the issue of not making eye contact with the patient because you are staring at a computer screens is leading to chronic discontent in the doctor-patient relationship.

The provider is faced with the task of coordinating endless data streams in a limited time frame. The provider must obtain the data, synthesize the data, and then incorporate it into a non-friendly computer program.

These are complex multi-tasking events even for the computer literate. Something has to be lost in these complex transactions. This is the face-to-face interactions where the patient gets their emotional needs met. Not all of medical care is pills, but it is psychological reassurance that everything is OK and hopefully will get better.

The important thing for any provider to do is take the time to make eye contact. Even a short period of eye contact is valuable; and to be effective the indication that is provides, that one is listening, continues through the other non-eye-contact activities. This is a basic communication necessity that physicians are all too prone to ignore in the midst of thinking about, and sorting out the issues of a patient's problem.

The article states that the interfaces and programs will improve and hopefully reestablish the human, for the time being, to human interactions that people crave. I can acquire a Google MD, but it is much more difficult to gain perspective on the various conditions.

Xpress Technologies user-friendly Electronic Health Record can help the provider avoid the trap of appearing to be a data entry clerk and establish that human link. The artificially intelligent medical cyborg or robot is still a way away.

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