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A Piece of My Mind
June 14, 2016

Time at the Bedside (Computing)

Author Affiliations
  • 1Hospital Medicine Section, Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora
  • 2Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora
JAMA. 2016;315(22):2399-2400. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.1722

Click. Scroll. Click. Type. Click. Scroll. My wrists are sore, my lower back a little achy. My eyes, feeling strained, dart to the familiar clock on the screen, and I wonder: How long have I been sitting here? How long have I been at this computer reviewing lab trends, reading CT reports, scrolling through years of discharge summaries, typing this ever-growing progress note? How long has it been since I made my rounds, ducking into patient rooms to pull back covers, to whisper while family members slept, or to lean in and raise my voice for aging ears? Now, in front of a flickering monitor chock-full of disembodied, virtual data, I struggle to remember the eyes, the words, the heart murmur of the actual, physical patient these numbers and drop-down menus and vital sign graphs represent. In moments like this, it is easy to think that the digital patient folder receives more of my attention and effort than the person lying just down the hall from the ergonomically designed office chair where I am rooted.

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