Why Your Doctor Won’t Look You In The Eye | AMA 06


– Okay guys, have you ever wondered what’s changed in medicine
that now you go to the doctor and they don’t look you in the eye? Instead, they’re looking
at a computer screen, their back maybe to you, you’re sitting there up on that exam table in a paper thin gown with
your butt hanging out feeling vulnerable, thinking, you know, this person doesn’t care about me because they’re starring at a computer asking me questions and clicking boxes. What happened to medicine? We went into it, doctors, nurses, everybody who takes care of
patients on the front line, to connect with other human beings and yet now, that seems to be gone. We can’t even look at our patient’s in their most vulnerable moments. The gift they give us is
being vulnerable with us and we’re not able to be there for them. Why? The electronic medical record. And I will not call it an
EHR, Electronic Health Record because there is nothing
about health in this thing. Patients, you guys need to understand how this has destroyed medicine. It was a great hope that
turned out to be false. Let me explain what’s
going on in that exam room. You come in, the doctor
immediately sits down, logs into their computer,
and starts clicking. Okay, so have anything
changed in your medications? Well, you’re thinking, I’ve
already been through this at this clinic and that clinic and this, why don’t they have it in the computer? Because one of the great tragedies of electronic medical records is they never were designed
to talk to each other. Why is that? Because hospitals and health systems who spend billions on instituting
electronic health record have zero incentive to
have you share that data with other health systems. They wanna keep you in their group and make it as hard as
possible to share data so the electronic medical record
vendors complied with that, there was no mandate that there was interoperability
between these records. So who suffers? You and that doctor who’s
trying to fill-in the blanks from your urgent care, the
other system you went to, the other state you were in. The other thing they’re clicking through and they’ll say, okay now
let me try to figure out what’s going in this patient’s history. I’m gonna look through some previous notes and well, in the old days, we would have the chart
right there in handwriting and you would feel that narrative because we couldn’t write a whole lot. We would basically
write what was important because otherwise you get writer’s cramp. Now with electronic medical records, it’s copy paste, take the old note, copy paste, blow in templates, all kinds of nonsense
starts to bloat these notes. So in order to learn
what’s going on with you, that physician or nurse practitioner of PA has to click, click,
click, click, click through a bunch of notes trying to figure out what’s important and what’s not. If you looked at the screen they saw, you would be like, ahh! It looks like something
out of mission control. It’s all this information and most of it is absolutely irrelevant. Why? Because the electronic medical record has nothing to do with patient care. It has everything to do with billing, billing and compliance for legal reasons. So if you document a bunch of stuff, the theory goes, you’re
less likely to be sued in a society that’s very litigious. And if you document a bunch of stuff that’s the only way
the insurance companies and Medicare will pay you. So the electronic medical record vendors built what was asked for,
a compliance vehicle, a cash register, with a little
patient care stuff tacked on. So what happens in that visit? The doctors clicking
through, trying to figure out what’s important to you. And instead, it’s deluged
with billing codes and a bunch of bloated crap
that has nothing to do with you. Could they ask you,
hey, what’s your story, tell me, look you in the eye? Well, they could, except the
new generation of physicians is being trained never having not known an electronic medical record. They are conditioned to trust the chart which is so imperfect, that’s a euphemism,
imperfect, it is a mess. They’re conditioned to trust that chart over the patient’s story. I have seen this on
rounds with new residents who are starting now in this month. They believe the chart over the patient, they look at the chart
instead of making eye contact. They’re constantly charting. This has destroyed the
fabric of what is medicine. It is a relationship. It is not charting, it is not billing, it is not legal stuff,
it is a relationship between you and I in a sacred space where you give us the gift
of making yourself vulnerable during the toughest times of your life. And the least we can do
is look you in the eye and the electronic medical
record has robbed us of that. And here’s the question. Why can’t the doctor just do the charting outside of the room? Because we can chart a lot
of things, now we have to. Which means, if we don’t
do the charting there in the room with you,
with 30 patients lined up, we’re gonna be doing
that charting at home. Which means, I can’t read a
bedtime story to my daughters because I will be there on
Epic clicking the boxes. Is it Epic’s fault that
medicine has been destroyed by the electronic medical record? No. Is it McKesson’s fault? Is it Cerner’s fault? Is it athenehealth’s fault? No! It is our fault, patients and doctors for rolling over and letting
our profession be destroyed. Why? Can’t we fix it? Can’t we just scribes come
in the room and chart for us? Sure, if you wanna throw
good money after bad. All you’re doing is complying with a broken set of incentives. And you’re adding another
human into the mix. I mean, it’s better than what we have but why can’t we accept that? Should we have AI that
just acquires all the data in the room through Google
Glass and prints out a big note? Sure, that’s another possibility. How about this though? How about we stop accepting
a broken set of incentives that we have to comply with? Why should we have to
do a 99205 billing code? Why should that be part of our lexicon? How about this? Make an electronic health
record about outcomes which means a narrative about a patient’s problems and story, their social history is important, valuing the face to face
time and the compassion that amazing clinicians
can show their patients, put a value on that ’cause right now, we don’t get paid for that. We get paid to click the boxes. We don’t get paid to look you in the eye and that has got to change. Until we get congress and
the insurance companies and Medicare and all of us to rise up because we are complicit in this, doctors, and nurses,
and health care people, we are conditioned, conditioned
by inertia to obey authority and it’s time we stop. We complain all the time, do
we do anything to change it? No. Here’s what you can do to start. Share this video with your patients, with other health care people. So that we can get a critical
mass and say, you know what? I’m not gonna stare at
this computer anymore, we’re gonna take medicine back. As patients, we’re gonna
reconnect with our clinician and we’re gonna have some compassion for why they aren’t looking us in the eye. It’s not because they don’t want to, it’s because we can’t. Please share this. And we out.

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