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Can the use of devices among physicians lead to "distracted doctoring?"

In case you haven't see it this morning, the New York Times has a piece on the potential downside of increased usage of smartphones and other devices among physicians, especially during critical patient-care moments: so-called "distracted doctoring." Stanford's Abraham Verghese, MD, weighs in:

The computer has become a good place to get a result, communicate with other people,” said... Verghese, a doctor and professor at the Stanford University Medical Center and a best-selling medical writer. “In the interest of preventing medical error, it’s a good friend.”

At the same time, he said, the wealth of data on the screen — what he frequently refers to as the “iPatient” — gets all the attention.

“The iPatient is getting wonderful care across America,” Dr. Verghese said. “The real patient wonders, ‘Where is everybody?’”

The rest of the article is quite interesting. And it's worth noting that the recent Stanford Summit @ Medicine 2.0 included a day-long discussion of how health-care providers can embrace emerging technologies without losing the human touch that goes into patient care. It is, the medical experts there assured the audience, possible.

Previously: Hands on: Abraham Verghese teaches bedside skills and Study finds more doctors are using smartphones

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