Monday, May 25, 2009


Paul Ravetz: Can the art of medicine exist in the computer age?

In today's post on KevinMD,  Paul Ravetz recognizes what most of us already understand (where the rubber hits the road).  Tell it to the HIT group, salivating  over the ARRA.


"Does the “Art of Medicine” really exist, or perhaps more important, can it do so in the computer age?


Computers are both the boon and the bane of medicine. Electronic medical records (EMRs) are excellent for retrieval of information about labs, medications, and past medical history of our patients. These records are much easier to access than our old paper charts. However, I feel that the Achilles Heel of these advances lies in the fact that physicians are so busy inputting information into their computers that they do not spend enough time communicating with the patient.

Communication with your patient is the epitome of the Art of Medicine.

However, the way things are presently being done cheats the patient out of the most important part of the doctor patient relationship - time to communicate. I always remember the precept advanced by Sir William Osler, the father of modern medicine, “Listen carefully doctor, the patient is giving you the diagnosis.”

So, who will you communicate with? Will it be the patient, or your workstation?

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