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.

An article on this topic, “The Role of Technology in the Bedside Encounter,” was co-authored by Andrew Kumar, Jeff Chi and John Kugler for the clinical examination edition of Medical Clinics.


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