Monday, September 10, 2007

Eyes shift from patient to keyboard

When I began my residency last year at the Cambridge Health Alliance, I was thrilled to discover that I would be using a computerized medical record system. Computerized medical records - which are now used by about half of Massachusetts physicians and a growing number of doctors nationwide - are truly revolutionizing medicine, allowing doctors to chart patient information more safely, effectively, and legibly than ever.

Although the computerized system has proven to be a huge help, I have confronted an unexpected challenge: Despite repositioning the computer in every imaginable way, I often find myself making more eye contact with the screen than I do with my patients. It is simply more difficult to face a patient while typing than while writing.

When I ask my patients whether the presence of the computer bothers them, most are understanding (though one pugnacious older lady told me that my face looks better from the side anyway).

Source: www.boston.com

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