Tag Archives: pay attention

Hello! Is Anybody Here?

Person talking to person on the computerHello?

I always snicker at that Ally Bank commercial in which a human at a dry cleaner’s business is replaced with a blender.  It sounds absurd, doesn’t it?  And yet, we’ve all had it happen to us in one way or another.  You’ve likely called “Customer Service” and were sent on a finger-fumbling journey through menu after menu, only to be either placed on hold or disconnected.  Or maybe you were asked to speak your choices from the oh-so-friendly-sounding automated voice cooing choices in your ear:  “Press 1 for technical support.  Press 2 for account information.  If you know your party’s 27-digit extension, enter it now.  Please wait while I try that extension.”  Don’t you feel silly talking to a machine?

The iDoctor

Unfortunately, we’ve come to expect such detached treatment from many service industries.  But think about this:  Could it be that your doctor is being (has been?) replaced by a machine?  Have you seen your doctor lately?  If you have, chances are he or she came into the room clutching a wonderful, magical machine.  No, it’s not a blood pressure monitor, EKG machine or defibrillator.  It’s a tablet or small notebook computer.  And chances are good also that he made more eye contact with that tablet computer in his hands than he did with you.

The iPatient

Thanks to electronic medical records, doctors have been forced to become one with their computers now.  When Dr. Peter J. Papadakos, an anesthesiologist and director of critical care at the University of Rochester Medical Center, wrote about these electronic distractions over two years ago, he correctly predicted the future when he said “it’s getting worse.”  While it’s true that those electronic gadgets contain a wealth of information that might be helpful in assessing a patient’s condition and improving patient outcomes, it may be that the doctor is relying too heavily on the gadget instead of the human sitting right in front of him for very real, very personal, very important cues about the patient’s illness.  After all, the gadget is not the patient:  the patient is the patient.

Making iContact

In an effort to help physicians engage their patients in the whole electronic extravaganza that is the patient encounter, Kaiser Permanente has developed the LEVEL system for paying attention to a patient while in the exam room:

L:    Let the patient look on
E:    Eye contact
V:    Value the computer
E:    Explain what you’re doing
L:    Log off

This is supposed to send the message to the patient (and reaffirm to the physician) that “the computer is our friend!”  So now, not only does the doctor have to remember how to navigate through drop-down boxes, menus, medication interaction sections, diagnosis codes and such, he also has to be retrained to make eye contact with the patient.  Do patients really care about the computer that’s in my doctor’s hand or what he’s doing with it?  I don’t think so.  I think a patient just wants to be heard and seen.  That requires the doctor’s full attention, and no nemonic system is ever going to replace good old fashioned one-on-one conversation and eye contact.

The iSolution

Dictating part of the patient encounter allows the doctor and patient to interact much more natural and personal way.  Instead of the doctor trying to type into the appropriate fields what the patient is conveying, he can instead just dictate it in a much more clear and detailed way than his data entry will allow.  If you’re a doctor struggling to find a balance between computer interaction and patient interaction, call us and together we’ll work to implement a system of dictation and transcription that suits the way you want and need to practice medicine.

Bumgarner Transcription and EMR Integration — 864-905-3559.

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Filed under Dictation and EMR

That’s Just Rude!


A colleague, Norma Whitt, and I were talking about how impersonal medicine has become.   She said, “I can tell you the one theme that I hear just in chit-chat with friends/family is how patients cannot stand it when a doctor has his face in the computer the whole visit.”

Some patients may not know what electronic medical records are, and most likely don’t know the upheaval surrounding EMR and the federal mandating of same. But here’s the one thing they do know: They get highly offended when they’re sitting across from the doctor in the examination room, trying to talk about the reason they’re there, and the  doctor is looking at a computer screen instead of them. It makes them feel neglected and as though they’re not being heard. The frightening truth is, they are being neglected and they may not be being heard.

An article in Strategic Human Resource Management in Healthcare says that EMRs “do not reflect the natural flow of patient care,” particularly among ambulatory care clinicians.  Well, duh! Come on. We even teach our children that when someone is speaking to you, look at that person while they are speaking. That’s the natural thing to do, unless you’re just trying to be rude.

So what can be done about it?

Dictation and transcription  that’s what. Instead of burying his face in a computer screen, a doctor can dictate portions of the patient encounter. On the medical side, this will allow him to:

  • Face the patient, as in any other normal conversation with a human being
  • Hear and absorb what the patient is saying
  • Listen for and capture those nuances that each unique patient brings to his or her situation

On the business side, this will allow him to:

  • Spend less time entering data and more time face to face with the patient
  • Likely make fewer charting mistakes
  • Stop losing money on data self-entry (Rona Silkiss, MD, of Silkiss Eye Surgery www.eyework.com)

Call Bumgarner Transcription and EMR Integration at 864-905-3559.  Or email us at NancyDavis@Transcribable.com.  Tell us your situation, and we’ll implement a simple dictation and transcription solution. Start facing your patients again and get your face out of the screen. Because that’s just rude!


Filed under Dictation and EMR

Can You Hear Me Now?

Patient talking to doctorDoes your doctor look at you when you’re speaking to him or her? Or does he look at a computer screen while you’re speaking?  It’s up to you to make sure he hears, understands and responds to what you are asking or reporting.

Try this:  The next time you see him, if he is typing or looking at the screen while you’re talking, say something like, “I’ll wait until you’re done there before I continue. This is too important to me and I don’t want you to miss anything.”

And then tell him to call Bumgarner Transcription and EMR Integration at 864-905-3559 so he can pay more attention to you and his other patients, and less attention to that computer.

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Filed under Patients