Sharing A Screen With A Patient

Check this out. What you will see is the kind of endearing brilliance that I always encounter when I read the “A Country Doctor Writes” blog.  

In this post, the good Doctor cleverly tames several issues that other bloggers have had me wrestle with over the past year. How? Simply by sharing his thought process as he greets a new patient into his practice.

It starts when he greets the patient. Here, the Doctor introduces himself by “first and last name.” He cleverly notes that he only calls himself “Doctor” when introducing himself to children, or when entering a crisis situation that might require the extra clout of that title. Wow! How many blog posts have I read over the last year, penned by doctors who are indignant when a patient calls them by their first name?

The next part is absolutely brilliant. Because his laptop was slow to load that morning and he didn’t want to fall behind schedule, he didn’t have the chance to do his usual EMR briefing before entering the treatment room. Instead, he entered the room lap top in hand, and had the patient look over his shoulder as he reviewed the various salient screens. Wow again!!! How many blogs and articles have been written by disgruntled doctors AND patients, concerned about the percentage  of time during a visit that the doctor spends looking at the screen rather than at the patient. By flipping the screen around so that the patient can see it, the computer becomes a communications tool rather than an obstacle.  

Bottom Line. Bingo! Think about this one for a second. Picture a shared screen technology, easily rigged in 2019, that would permit the patient to hold an iPad that showed exactly what the doctor was looking at. Consider how that would enhance the value of, and probably improve the efficiency of, the patient visit!

Yeah, I know. We would then enter the line of discussion as to whether patients should actually be able to see what their doctors have written about them. I’ve read lots of blogs and articles on that one too.

My answer? Sure they should! And not just at home on their computers, but while they are sharing time and space and screens with their physicians, and thus able to discuss and ask questions!!!

Comments (2)

  • I love the deep meaning of this – we’re all humans trying to help each other. Weird cultural (hierarchies of relative standing and sociological barriers (title, status signaling, technology) get in the way of this simple thing. I’ve lost clients for calling doctors by their first name. I’ve had some of the deepest, most human, most insightful conversations by calling doctors by their first name. Titles are artificial constructs. Let’s be human.

    I think William nailed a long time ago:

    “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

  • Not to mention that if a patient can see the screen, they can correct errors.

    A few years ago, I had reason to see a set of medical records from a physician here in Philly. In 25 visits, there were 109 errors, including gender, diagnoses (including Cystic Fibrosis…making me something of a medical miracle to still be alive at that age and with no treatment), and medications prescribed. It appeared that someone else’s visit has been copied and pasted into mine.

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