Be present with your patients
Good friend and colleague Dr. Mike Brown recently forwarded an essay, “The Importance of Being” by Abraham Verghese, MD, and published in the journal Health Affairs.1
Dr. Verghese is a very unique and accomplished individual. In addition to being professor and vice-chair in the Department of Internal Medicine at Stanford University, he has an MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop and is a best-selling novelist.
This essay, like many of his works, focuses on healing in a time when technology often overwhelms the human side of medical care.
Previously from Dr. Bowling: Does your practice have a hive mentality?
The theme of this piece is in the era of electronic medical records, where we fill in all the little electronic boxes: we have lost contact with our patients. “The result is a mess,” he states,” with great unhappiness in the ranks.”
Don’t get him wrong: The representation of the patient in the electronic medical record (the iPatient, as he terms it) is a necessary evil. However, spending too much time with the iPatient is a guaranteed way of not being present with the actual patient.