We’re not in Kansas anymore

The Norman Rockwell era is over

The iconic photos of the old white male physician caring for patients in their homes or in the office no longer represent modern day medical practice.

These days we spend more time facing our computers than facing our patients.

How has it come to this?

By accident.

It wasn’t purposeful that society decided to take the noble profession of healing and turn physicians into the world’s most expensive, overburdened, and overworked data entry clerk..

The United States health care system was never purposefully planned to be the way it is (whether you are referring to the complexity of the current health insurance landscape or the impact of the Electronic Health Record on doctor-patient interactions).   Our current reality is just a result of previous decisions that hadn’t fully considered the long term impact. 

Now that we know the impact of the current health care system on physicians, one thing is certain, this is unsustainable.

Things have to change.

We have to say goodbye to the old romanticized Norman Rockwell image, but we also have to say goodbye to the doctor facing the computer screen more than they face the patient.  This is the end of an era. 

The sooner we realize that they way it is now was never planned, it was never intentional.  People didn’t realize the consequences of their actions as we implemented Electronic Health Records.

We didn’t realize that children all across the country would start pretending they are doctors by sitting behind laptops in their homes in their beds and on their sofas typing saying they are “charting”.  This is not what we want our children to think being a physician is.  This is not what we will allow medicine to become.  The care of the patient is not in the care of the computer.  The care of the patient is in caring for the patient.  Presence.  Listening.  Caring.  Examining.  Not charting.  No my precious little ones, charting from home is not what being a doctor was meant to be.

Rather than allowing the future of medicine to further develop randomly, we must purposefully lead with humanism, compassion, caring, healing, and include the health and well-being of those of us who will live much of our adult lives in the health care system.