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Why we still need human relationships in an era of digital medicine

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Is computerized medicine all it’s cracked up to be? Or has it so dramatically eliminated the human factor that we risk doing more harm than good?

Photo: @CharlesOrnstein via Twitter

Photo: @CharlesOrnstein via Twitter

That was the premise of Wednesday’s AHCJ New York City chapter meeting with guest speaker Robert Wachter, M.D., professor and associate chair, department of medicine and director, division of hospital medicine, at the University of California, San Francisco. Wachter provided the backstory of his hospital’s switch from analog to digital systems, how this process has hurt peer and patient relationships – and very nearly killed a 12-year old boy.

Wachter said he was excited about the push for computerized medicine a decade ago. “We had this grand idea that they [computers] would solve everything.” However, he since has come to believe that was that although computers are transforming his profession, it isn’t always for the better. Continue reading