So, here’s a study which makes you go…..duh!? Is anybody surprised?? The conclusion is this –
When physicians spend too much time looking at the computer screen in the exam room, nonverbal cues may get overlooked and affect doctors’ ability to pay attention and communicate with patients
Using video cameras to follow eye gaze the researchers found that physicians using electronic health records were likely to spend a third of their time in the consultation looking at the computer screen (I’m surprised it was only a third!) and, more surprisingly, that the patient too gazed at the screen, even if they couldn’t see, or read, the details on the screen.
When doctors spend that much time looking at the computer, it can be difficult for patients to get their attention,” said Enid Montague, first author of the study. “It’s likely that the ability to listen, problem-solve and think creatively is not optimal when physicians’ eyes are glued to the screen.”
Can’t disagree with that….it’d be surprising if a doctor could pick up the non-verbal clues when they are looking at a screen.
What do the researchers recommend?
Nope, not putting a bag over the screen the way people used to put a bag over bird cages to get noisy parrots to go to sleep. Instead they say their findings could contribute towards
more effective training guidelines and better-designed technology. Future systems, for example, could include more interactive screen sharing between physicians and patients
Pssst! Researchers! I’m over here! How about getting Humphrey Bogart to teach doctors? If the norm was “here’s looking at you, kid”…..well, what do you think??