What will bedside manner look like for new data-driven physicians?

March 8, 2016


Earlier this year, Managed Care magazine published a cover story on young doctors. Praising them for their ability to collaborate, their openness to measurement and consciousness related to cost-effective care, the article advanced the idea that these “newly minted” physicians are just what health care needs. However, it had one main question: “How well will this new generation of data-driven MDs deal with patients?”

In other words: How’s their bedside manner?

While “today’s doctors [may be] better suited to [current] modes of health care financing and delivery,” reports Managed Care, “some observers fear that these savvy young docs—so adroit with anything involving a screen—may have lost something in personal skills at the bedside.” Part of that concern, according to the article, lies in a habit largely attributed (fairly or not) to younger generations: an inclination to be “glued to the screen.”

Stanford Medicine 25 Skills Symposium on Tuesday, September 29, 2015.

Stanford Medicine 25 Skills Symposium on Tuesday, September 29, 2015.


We know, of course, that laptops and mobile devices can come between all physicians (regardless of age) and their patients at the bedside. And we place an emphasis onpreserving the ritual of the physical exam, not only as a means for gathering necessary clinical information but also as an important part of building a connection between doctors and patients.

Let us know what you think: Is the ability to strike a balance between technology and hands-on care harder for those who grew up with computers? Or is the difference attributed to something totally apart from age?

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