When I start a visit I ask the patient if they’re okay with some occasional typing while we talk.
This morning when I asked, my teen patient replied holding his phone, ‘That’s fine so long as I can type as we talk.’
To his point, we assume information engagement in the clinical space is only for providers. At one time, in fact, we prohibited cell phone use in the exam room – a hangover from an age when patients functioned on our terms and phones were for trivial things like talking.
Handheld technology now has a bigger purpose and holds even bigger promises. Patients carry not only access to every bit of published medical information but the capacity to record, create, and engage. The clinical space has no boundaries for doctor and patient alike.
As technology advances patients and providers will negotiate how the tools of information and media are used during the encounter. Right now it’s passive and accidental. Expect it to be done with more intent.