Generational changes in medicine are palpable. Some are life-changing and positive. But when it comes to patient care, "excellent" is often an adjective that doesn't quickly come to mind. Once revered doctor-patient relationships have been replaced with drive-by style appointments.
A recent article in the New York Times, "For New Doctors, 8 Minutes Per Patient," brings these changes to light. Doctors are currently spending the least amount of time ever spent with their patients; don't blink or your doctor may be gone.
In this study, they found interns spent a staggering 8 minutes with each patient, equating to a measly 12 percent of the time they spent at work. With such little time at a patient's bedside, many important questions about quality of care are raised.
As a nurse, I realize there is no replacement for actual patient care — exposure to and interactions with patients are priceless as we learn our trades. The digital interface in our new model of medicine has many positive aspects, but it definitely robs a caregiver of this important patient care time. A sad but true fact.
What was so wrong with a paper and pen anyhow? Fifteen years ago, before I had a computer to take care of in addition to patients, my patient care time was probably two-fold what it is today. Is this what we have grown to expect, and accept, of medicine?
We chart, collect data, and analyze documents on computers, but we as people aren't digitized. At the end of the day human interactions matter. Patient satisfaction stems from a sense of compassion, a listening ear and meaningful human exchanges.