Your Doctor Isn't Using A PC

the_sick_doctorSelf-diagnosis via Google might be a major annoyance source for doctors, but it turns out that your GP isn't that keen on using a PC even when it's sitting on their own desk.

Karen Dearne at Australian IT reports that around 10% of GPs don't use computers even when they're installed within their practices, according to a report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. While that means the majority are making some use of PCs (the odds of your getting a handwritten prescription these days seem non-existent), an earlier 2006 study found that just one in five doctors used their PCs extensively, Dearne notes.

Whatever your doctor's level of technophobia, there are some steps you can take to get better medical service. Taking notes during a visit should score you a more attentive doctor, as will setting a clear agenda during the consultation.

Picture from Wikimedia Commons GPs say no to computers: study [Australian IT]


    I went to the doctor the other week and he referred to his PC extensively. He even showed me a site to confirm his diagnosis and showed me some images of other people with a similar condition of mine. He even jotted down the URL for me to refer to when I got home.

    Although, I did have this small feeling that what I am actually there for if all I had to do was google before I got there.

      I am a medical student and have had lie long experience in medical practices and with computers and can say the reason most doctors don't use computers is not simple technophobia.

      There are very few setups conducive to the constructive use of PCs. Very infrequently do doctors need to reference anyway beyond their minds and when they need to compose letters or prescriptions, few doctors can match the speed of handwriting on a computer. Even if they are touch type trained, the effect on patients is like the irritation of someone typing loudly in a lecture multiplied by a thousand.

      It is my opinion that taking notes and googling conditions is good and helps keep a check on doctor however we must all remember that google doesn't have a medical degree.

    That seems a really odd story. Of course GPs don't make extensive use of a PC in their work - it's not a core part of their occupation. It's a bit like saying, "Did you know? The majority of carpenters don't use computers extensively whilst building a chair."

    A good GP has the majority of information in their head (that's why they study for so long). They'll use a reference book (or maybe the internet) on the rare occasion that they need further information. They've got receptionists to do all the admin tasks that require heavy use of PCs.

    I'd be more worried if I went to the doctor and all they did was plug my symptoms into a PC, printed out a diagnosis and prescription, and sent me on my way.

    the simple reason GPs don't need to refer to a PC is their job is inanely simple and they work in a tight, focused mind-set that doesn't benefit from external or new information that may contradict their age-old practices.

    I have been to more than a dozen doctors in the last several years and as I recall, all but one used a computer to type out print out the script. many now also keep their patient records on their clinic database, which is easy to access for partner clinics, specialists, and can be linked easily to any emailed test results.

      I'm curious as to how you think a GPs job is inanely simple?

      For most people the GP is the only link between the world of medical science (which they cannot hope to wholly comprehend) and their own experience. This is not an inanely simple job.

    "the simple reason GPs don’t need to refer to a PC is their job is inanely simple"

    Sometimes the more you know, the less you know.
    Or in your case, the converse is often true - ie the less you know, the more you think you know.
    Perhaps you think GPs are simple have a tight focused mindset, because you're one of those worried well who present with problems that either don't present a diagnostic or therapeutic difficulty, or are such a concoction of unrelated psychosomatic symptoms that no database of human pathology would be able to resolve.

    If you go to the finest solicitor and ask them to simply witness a passport photo, or the finest chef and ask for plain white toast, yes, it would seem to YOU that their skills are not very impressive and over-rated. Clearly that would be a mistake of your perception not reality.
    One day, when you really need significant help, you may be pleased that your GP still doesn't need to look up a PC, but you might not think they're not so narrow or inanely simple, and maybe you might grow to be a little more appreciative.
    But guessing the type of person you are.... probably not.

    I would just like to say that most doctors and surgeons are inadequate.

    As a doctor, I would be lost without my computer.

    Medical information online is not always reliable, and I will only reference sites that I believe will give good information. "Googling" a medical condition will often call up poorly informed (or just plain wrong) but highly opinionated websites...

    Where a computer is invaluable is in linking patients into support services - whether it is the closest AA meeting or a migrant parenting group.

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