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

Call Bumgarner Transcription and EMR Integration at 864-905-3559.  Or email us at  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

2 Responses to That’s Just Rude!

  1. Kris

    I happened to run across this site because of an incident that happened to me and my husband yesterday. We were in the exam room waiting for the doctor to give us test results for an elevated PSA when we heard the door open and close next door. The walls were thin and we heard that patient’s results – very probably cancer. When it came our turn we, thankfully, got good news, but the doctor constantly had his nose buried in his computer reading and adding comments. I couldn’t help thinking that if it had been bad news, I would have wanted a doctor focusing on me instead of his computer. I am now looking for a doctor who dictates his notes and pays attention to his patients when he is with them.

    • Nancy

      Kris, first let me say thank goodness that your husband received good news from his test. Second, you’re not alone in your frustration and disappointment at the doctor focusing on the computer instead of focusing on you. A little eye contact goes a long way. Here’s something you may not know: Many doctors don’t like having to divide their attention between the the computer and the patient, either. Unfortunately, having purchased a gigantic electronic medical records system, many of them don’t realize they have a choice. But they can still easily dictate notes and have them transcribed directly into their patients’ records. This would have them looking their patients in the eyes again in no time. If you choose to stay with this doctor, he may appreciate your feedback. You may even want to point him in our direction. Nonetheless, your desire to have a doctor who pays attention to you should be a huge wake-up call to doctors everywhere.

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