Thursday, September 09, 2004

The computer in the consulting room

There's a new intruder in the office. Our clinic has switched to computerized records. Psychiatrists must search the computer for lab results, medication lists, and progress notes. I had hoped that all this could be accomplished without the patient sitting in front of me, waiting patiently....but, alas....

Perhaps the patient has a troubling side effect. What are her meds now? The patient was in the ER Friday, where is the report? Click, click....my gaze is diverted to the screen. The close, undivided attention that we were trained to give the patient.....now directed at a PC on my desk. Click, click....This is terrible!

The patient sits. I tell her, "It's not supposed to be like this, with the computer...." and the patient nods. I make a nervous joke. "What did the doctor do at your visit? Well, she looked at the computer," and the patient laughs. Briefly, we are allied against the machine. I invite the patient to look at the screen with me. "Here is the list of your meds, does that look all right? Here is your lab result." This machine can be tamed, we will bend it to our will. (Or will we?)

Until they replace me entirely with a PC (I envision a large screen that says, "Tell me about it!" and "It's not supposed to be like this, with the computer taking up so much of our visit...") - they could outsource my job that way, actually...anyway, until that happens, I resolve to keep the distraction of the computer to a minimum. But when they take away our paper chart, (sometime next year,) I may have to type on a keyboard while the patient is talking to me....oh, horrors. Never!

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When they take away yuor paper charts, you should have them look into this...

http://h18004.www1.hp.com/products/customer_stories/sfischermd.html

12:31 PM  
Blogger shrinkette said...

Greetings, Anonymous....this HP product looks impressive! Thanks!

3:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you use PDA's too? Our residents have them linked to the system so they can download the pts info right to their hand before entering the room in some departments

3:20 PM  
Blogger shrinkette said...

We only have large, clunky desktop computers here. If the PDA is lost or stolen, would people be able to access confidential info? It must be protected somehow.

5:34 PM  
Blogger shrinkette said...

(Oh, gosh, look at the grammar in my post. Yikes! Sorry!)

9:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some HP PDA's have a biometric finger print reader so that if it is lost, no one except the regustered owner can access the data.

The problem witht he PDA is that the screens are too small for most healthcare applications. The Tablet PC's have been finding their way into healthcare quite rapidly.

11:57 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

I work for a medical technology company, and the future is paperless.
PDA's can bring up patient charts, and lab or pharmacy orders can be entered into a PDA and sent across town where the software automatically checks for any drug interactions or allergies and the lab is ready for your patient.
Once you get the hang of it, going paperless should save you and your patients a fair amount of time. And that is time you can spend with your patient.

1:45 PM  

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