Pilar Bradshaw and ChildThe government and private insurance companies now demand a great deal of detailed information be documented by doctors during your visits to the office. In response, many practices like Eugene Pediatric Associates have purchased electronic medical records.

There are some great advantages for patients:

  • Improved tracking of your child’s medications, allergies and medical problems.
  • Ability to proactively manage the health care of patients with chronic medical conditions.
  • Easier and more complete sharing of information with specialists.

But there is a huge challenge created by technology in the exam room with doctor and patient: How to keep the technology from interfering with the very important connection between doctor and patient.

One of the pioneers of modern medicine Sir William Osler (1849-1919) said, “Listen to your patient, he is telling you the diagnosis.”

Twenty years in pediatrics has taught me that a keen awareness of the conversation and complete interaction in the exam room often yields better a diagnosis of medical conditions, an enhanced patient experience and greater family satisfaction. Subtle body language by parent or child, facial expressions and word choices are important. Having a computer in my face distracts me from noticing what parents and kids are telling me.

While Drs. Chase and Romanoski and nurse practitioner Alicia McIntire have worked with iPads and laptops to type notes during your visits, I’ve tried memorizing everything, and typing it up later. The problem: I’ve been up until 1 or 2 a.m. typing my notes.

Now we are trying a new concept: scribes. A scribe is a trained professional whose job is to listen and type medical notes. I’m the first doctor at the practice to use a scribe, and so far it seems to dramatically improve my ability to attend to the details and interaction in the exam room with my patients while capturing the written record in real-time. Dr. Romanoski and Alicia will soon be using scribes, too.

Once our patients get used to having a “shadow” in the room, we hope you will all feel the intensity of our attention to your concerns and questions.

Our top priority is to deliver the best care possible to your children, while navigating the ever-changing regulatory requirements of our profession. Technology presents both benefits and challenges, but your providers at Eugene Pediatric Associates are leading our industry in grappling with the hard challenges posed by new technology.