Is your doctor distracted?
Technology has the power to change medicine for the better. But in far too many clinics today, it's making things worse, increasing the risk of potential medical errors.
And now, a new warning for medical errors for medical errors finds too many doctors are so distracted by technology in the exam room that they're not giving full attention to the patient.
It's being called "distracted doctoring," and the warning says docs who try to multitask their way through patient sessions could be as dangerous as drivers trying to send text messages.
For example, a doctor muttering "mm-hmmm" and "yup" as he busily pecks away at a touchscreen could miss the warning signs of depression -- signs that often become apparent only during a fully engaged conversation.
And removing eye contact could cause the doctor to miss important visual cues -- like signs the patient doesn't understand what he or she is being told, or even signs that the patient doesn't agree with the doctor.
These are the types of things often left unsaid at first. A doctor (or a good doctor, anyway) can read the expression on the patient's face and realize something's wrong, and then talk about the problem, making these medical errors that can easily be resolved.
But that won't happen if the doctor is looking at a screen instead of the patient.
It's not entirely the fault of the doctors. New rules for electronic medical records -- part of ObamaCare, by the way -- require doctors to constantly check off boxes on screens, and in some cases they have to enter data while they speak to the patient and then wait for the computer to spit out treatment recommendations.
It's the exact opposite of personalized medicine and increases the potential for medical errors.
If your doctor is spending too much time with his eyes on the screen -- and not enough time with his eyes on you -- demand his full attention.
And if you don't get it, find another doctor -- one who has the time to give you his full attention and a little eye contact.
For more on choosing a doctor in the age of ObamaCare, read this free report from my House Calls archive.