The Basics vs. Technology Debate: When They Work Together, Everyone Wins
A recent discussion on Medscape between two physicians posed the question, “Are Physicians--Let's Face It--Getting Clinically Lazy?” This bold question has prompted many responses from clinicians that has become an ongoing conversation on “The Basics Versus Technology: Which Wins?”
Overall, this vigorous discussion from medical professionals helps the conversation about bedside medicine build momentum. We have heard, both in this discussion and others, about the obstacles that stand in the way of beside teaching. Quite a few contributors to these discussions share our concern that not enough emphasis is being placed on physical exam skills.
In the Medscape discussion, one psychiatrist says, “Technology provides us the additional edge—additional to what is basic. It is not meant to replace the basic.” We could not agree more. Technology is present in modern health care; that will not change. However, it can be implemented in such a way that strengthens, not weakens, the patient-physician relationship. A recent Presence symposium discussed this question further.
Humility is an underappreciated skill in a time of global budgets, evidenced based approaches, and cost-containment. The bright, well-read, talented medical students who may lack humility are not uncommon.
Patient-centered care is an important aspect of the National Strategy for Quality Improvement on Health Care. As such, healthcare institutions are strongly focusing on the patient-physician relationship and the patient experience.
The editor-in-chief of Medscape, Dr. Eric Topol, visited Stanford to sit down and do an interview with our Dr. Vergese for the Medscape One-on-One online video series.
Peter Conrad, a sociologist at Brandeis University, spoke of the rise and fall of the medical authority in the doctor patient office encounter in his many scholarly articles. With the internet becoming the “elephant in the doctor’s office,” the dynamic of medical authority has certainly changed…