Good friend and colleague Dr. Mike Brown recently forwarded an essay, “The Importance of Being” by Abraham Verghese, MD, and published in the journal Health Affairs.1
Dr. Verghese is a very unique and accomplished individual. In addition to being professor and vice-chair in the Department of Internal Medicine at Stanford University, he has an MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop and is a best-selling novelist.
This essay, like many of his works, focuses on healing in a time when technology often overwhelms the human side of medical care.
Previously from Dr. Bowling: Does your practice have a hive mentality?
The theme of this piece is in the era of electronic medical records, where we fill in all the little electronic boxes: we have lost contact with our patients. “The result is a mess,” he states,” with great unhappiness in the ranks.”
Don’t get him wrong: The representation of the patient in the electronic medical record (the iPatient, as he terms it) is a necessary evil. However, spending too much time with the iPatient is a guaranteed way of not being present with the actual patient.