Most people laud the introduction of technology into healthcare. It supposedly is superior in reducing medical errors and allows data to be better analysed leading to some intelligence behind the screen.
However every process in digitizations leads ultimately to the point of contact with the patient. A time when the doctor and patient communicates. Sadly, the introduction of technology into this conversation has complicated this interactive process.
Now, the doctor has to handle the myriad of ‘new’ tasks while still talking to the patient. Finding the alphabet while typing, scanning the screen while getting the cursor to be at the precise location, battling the software which appeared different just a few days ago in an apparent upgrade, calling IT when a simple task of prescribing now becomes a collage of typing and clicking, and if we are lucky the process is smooth and uninterrupted. No doubt technology has usurped the attention from the patient and created a bottleneck in the workflow.
Technology must help enhance the communication between doctors and patients. Doctors are already often guilty of not communicating well enough. Unfortunately, most EMRs attempt to do too much and this distracts the doctor and patient alike. Subtle symptoms and revealing clinical clues could now be buried by an avalanche of digital tasks and checklists.
We don’t yet have enough intelligence in technology to assist the doctor in delivering precise, efficient and affordable healthcare. Perhaps we have to begin somewhere and this painful digital evolution is undoubtedly necessary to achieve the desired revolution.