News&Views

September 11, 2007

The Eyes Have It

Filed under: — mlazoff

An interesting opinion piece by medical resident Michael Hochman, MD, posted today on Boston.com, Eyes Shift From Patient to Keyboard reviews some of the benefits and limitations to physicians in using computers in patient encounters. Benefits include: speed of chart review, increased access to key medical history information, and at least one study that found ”after the introduction of a computer in the office, patients were more likely to feel that their doctors were familiar with their history.” On the other hand, two studies found that a sizeable minority of patients experienced computers as interfering with their time with, and attention from, the doctor. In particular, lack of eye contact between physician and patient is discussed, along with possible remedies, such as acknowledging the distraction to the patient beforehand, and closing each session with a face-to-face review of the visit. Another option not discussed: arranging the monitor so that both patient and physician can see what’s on the screen, as when the patient sits alongside rather than across from the physician’s desk. 



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