Wednesday, September 12, 2007

How to Use the New Technology

Although doctors constantly depend on computers for information, many older physicians harbor an irrational fear of computer technology. Faced with a challenge they find difficult to conquer, they either delegate computer tasks to other people or try to avoid using the computer as much as possible.

Because computers involve a language and work style that physicians do not always understand, their technophobia occasionally causes them to make extremely misguided decisions. This technophobia can manifest itself in the strangest ways.

  • Some doctors will depend on a spouse to run the office even though that person is not computer literate.

  • Some doctors won't hesitate to buy expensive new computers for their children but will refuse to spend money to upgrade their office's software and hardware.

  • Some doctors prefer to have their offices run the "old-fashioned way,"using antiquated procedures for maintaining their calendars, billing, and chart notes.

  • Some doctors will rant and rave about how everyone in the healthcare industry is cutting into their income while they stubbornly refuse to learn more efficient and cost-effective ways of working.

  • Some doctors are extremely stubborn people who are set in their ways. Having reached a certain level of comfort and success, they no longer feel that they have anything to learn.
By refusing to develop certain basic computer skills -- or even admit that computer technology is a weak point in their education -- many doctors handicap themselves and their support staff. As a result, it is possible to find a private practice where the physician's wife (who doubles as his receptionist) uses the office computer primarily to play Solitaire.

People reading this blog who were born after 1975 have a distinct advantage over older readers. How so? Younger readers (primarily the latest generation of medical students) will have grown up in the information era. Personal computers will have been a common part of their personal and professional landscape.

[Cartoon #5 ]

Next: Using The Proper Tools Of The Trade

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