Doctors spend more time looking at their computers instead of at the patient!

computer-doctorI’ve had cause to see the doctor on a weekly basis lately. During our nation-wide travels I’ve seen many different doctors so I’ve had experience with a few. Some are older, many are younger. Either way I am convinced that they all spend more time engaging with their computer than with me, the patient.

The elderly doctors have often seen their computer as a necessary evil. I’ve watched some struggle with it, longing for the ‘good ole days’. Nevertheless, whether they want to or not, most of their attention is given to the computer.

Some of the younger doctors have a pretty good handle on the whole computer thing. They’re proficient at researching, documenting and printing with their computer…yet for some reason their computer still gets more eye contact and more one on one engagement than me, the patient.

I remember when doctor’s would face me, listen to my story and take notes. The thing about taking notes is that the body language is open, toward the patient… eye contact can still be made while the notes are being jotted down. Not so with a computer!  I know some people might think I’m a bit loony but I have researched how to talk with doctors. I understand they’re busy and hear the life story of a new patient every 20 minutes or so. I get that. So I try to be organised and concise while conveying my story. Studies have shown that a patient will be interrupted by the doctor within the first 18 – 23 seconds. Whew! That gives me about 18 seconds to get the most important points out…for once I’ve been interrupted it’s hard to get back on track, especially if the story is involved or complicated. Not only that but it’s likely that the doctor’s mind has wandered, thinking about the first few issues I’ve raised.

So where does one start? Do you start with your history or the current issue? the current issue often comes on the back of the history so that’s important. I try to open with a brief statement relating to my current issue…and then delve into the history a little but I seem to lose the doctors attention very quickly. (Of course I also recognise that this may not be the case for everyone… especially those who have had the same doctor for many years. I’ve had a new doctor every 12 months, due to moving interstate)

I love technology. I love my computer. I love the Internet. But just in case I needed the reminder I’ll take it. My computer does not listen to me. It does not need my love or attention. My family does. I need to make more time to fully engage with my family- to really give them my full, undivided attention…eye contact, verbal affirmations, smiles, touches and to turn my body in an open way toward them when they are talking.

Just wish my doctor would do the same…they even get paid to do so!