There have been many changes in the doctor patient interaction over the last two decades. With increasing demand for patient’s time, office visits have been shortened and grouped closer together. This often leads to longer wait times, shorter face to face time with the physician and increased interaction with physician’s assistants. In an effort to more accurately document what happens and create a more permanent record, many offices are moving to digital x-rays and electronic medical records. Our office began using distal x-rays approximately five years ago and we have been very excited with the outcome of this. It provides faster delivery of images, a more permanent record, and a more transferable image. The quality of our x-rays has increased significantly and allows us to give copies of x-rays to patients after their office visit.
In an effort to meet increasing governmental regulation, we are converting our medical records to an electronic medical record. This allows better record keeping, greater access to information for documentation purposes, but will change the nature of the interaction with the patient. Instead of listening and dictating the interaction at a later date, often data will be inputted into a tablet, a personal computer, at the time of the office visit, which will alter the way that we interact with patients. This may create a somewhat impersonal interaction, but probably will become the wave of the future. It will also change the way patients interact with physicians’ offices. Appointments and appointment forms will be downloadable from the internet and many of the information can be completed and electronically sent back to the office, decreasing the amount of time spent filling out paperwork in physician’s offices. Change is inevitable and our job is to try and embrace new technology and use it in a way that allows us to provide better care, better record keeping, and allow us to accommodate an increasing number of patients that is inevitable as our baby boom generation continues to age.