In a Morning Edition segment today, NPR reporter Richard Knox explored how many physicians are abbreviating or skipping the time-honored physical exam. Some are bucking that trend, though, including Stanford’s Abraham Verghese, MD, who told NPR:
You know, we often spend so much time with that entity in the computer – I call it the ‘iPatient,’ like your iPad and your iPhone. And the real patient in the bed is often left wondering, ‘Where is everybody? What are they doing?’ I sense that we’re spending very little time at the bedside.
Verghese is a strong advocate for “hands-on” medicine, and he teaches medical trainees the importance of observation and using one’s senses to learn about a patient. As mentioned in the piece, Stanford’s medical students are also asked to master 25 bedside exam skills before moving on.