Monday, September 23, 2013

Should "Diagnosing While Texting" Be Illegal?

I saw an interesting comment at Medscape in the comment thread of the article "Do Your EHR Manners Turn Patients Off?" (MedScape subscription required).

Dr. [redacted] | Neurology

I live in a town that has passed legislation criminalizing texting and driving. A driver is more impaired and distracted when texting than when intoxicated.  EHR's and the practice of medicine should be no different. Do you really believe that your physician is actually concentrating on the patient in front of them while their attention is primarily focused on entering data on a computer? The reality is that EHR's true value is data collection for statistical analysis by our government and there is an obvious deficiency for enhancing the physician-patient collaborative experience.

Medicine, like driving, is a very cognition, thinking and concentration-intense activity.   Failures lead to injury and death (although not quite as dramatically in the former compared to the latter).

I think the point about distraction the commenter makes is valid, or at least worthy of healthy consideration.

Unless you're a health IT hyperenthusiast, that is (see

-- SS


Steve Lucas said...

The FDA is not interested in an EMR but we now need to regulate those smartphones!

Steve Lucas

Anonymous said...


I recently saw an innovation coming out of Europe that would (hopefully) make our 1980's-technology blood glucose monitors obsolete. As a diabetic, we've long complained about the inaccuracy of these FDA-regulated devices--to no avail. Besides inaccuracy that can, and does, lead to life-threatening consequences, the profitability of the consumables (strips) is astonishing. Technology that would make bG monitors/strips obsolete is desirous for those currently exploited by the status quo profiteers. When we read about this device (soon to incorporate bG monitoring) we were delighted. Then we read the article to which you linked. Our first thought: first, FDA will insert itself into the 'app regulation' field and then into any innovative devices that can be coordinated with smart phones. Obviously, the strip makers/bG manufacturers are looking into the future, and finding hairs to split so that their profitable exploitation may continue.