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September 26, 2012

Use of Information Technology in the Examination Room—Reply

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Jody W. Zylke, MD, Senior Editor.

Author Affiliation: Department of Pediatrics, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island (etoll@lifespan.org).

JAMA. 2012;308(12):1208-1209. doi:10.1001/2012.jama.11190

In Reply: Despite myriad forces competing for professional loyalty, a physician's primary responsibility remains with the patient. A strong patient-physician relationship can help physicians uncover patients' problems and help them feel better. It is why many physicians chose medicine as a career. Giving a patient full attention requires considerable intellectual and emotional energy. Current EMRs also require intense focus. Therein lies the distressing dilemma: How can a physician focus on a patient if the computer also needs attention? It is analogous to texting while driving. In recalling the adage to do what is best for the patient, Dr Esper offers a time-honored standard for measuring physicians' activities and technologies, including the EMR.