Does the use of digital medicine preclude human connection?

On how doctors can use technology to enhance their connection with their patients, beyond the standard physical exam.

It is always a challenge to find the balance between productivity improvements engendered by technology and slowing down for the human side (think how many of us in offices stay in front of our computer emailing colleagues down the hall, rather than occasionally getting up and having a deeper face-to-face discussion). I am lucky with my doctors in this respect. Quote:

…. The physical exam was and always will be an indispensable tool to diagnose and treat patients. Indeed it is imperative we continue to teach and maintain these essential skills. Acknowledging the technological advances in medicine and teaching a strategically streamlined exam would allow educators more time to emphasize the human connection and teach students skills to better connect and relate to their patients.

In his article, A Touch of Sense, Dr. Abraham Verghese extols the importance of the physical exam as a means to convey the message, “I will always, always be there, I will see you through this, I will never abandon you, I will be with you through the end.” Call me crazy, but I hope to take the time saved by my digital technologies and gently place my hand on the patient’s shoulder, look them squarely in the eye, and share the same message in my own words. Technology will never replace this privilege of human connection.

Does the use of digital medicine preclude human connection?.


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