Is Technology Making Our Doctors Better or Worse?

Is Technology Making Our Doctors Better or Worse?

An expert in patient safety explores the benefits and the dangers of the digital revolution in healthcare.

Sanjay Gupta, MD, Everyday Health: The patient-physician relationship has been evolving probably since the days of Hippocrates. How would you characterize where we are right now?

Robert Wachter, MD, author, The Digital Doctor: I think we are at a crucial moment in the doctor-patient relationship because for the first time patients really have access to almost all the information their physicians do.

Dr. Gupta: Dr. Robert Wachter is an expert on patient safety. He was concerned the digital revolution was hurting healthcare by driving a wedge between patient and doctor.

Dr. Wachter: We hear this from patients all the time: I went in to see the doctor. It used to be the doctor would have a conversation with me, but now the doctor appears to be having a conversation mostly with his or her computer.

Dr. Gupta: This drawing by a 7-year-old girl says it all.

Dr. Wachter: It’s actually one of those “a picture is worth a thousand words.” The picture she drew was of her sitting on the exam table and her mom and her sister next to her, and there in the corner with his back to her was the doctor typing on his computer.

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