Michael E. Miller, MD
Potential Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.
Miller ME. An Oasis in Time. Ann Intern Med. 2011;154:705. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-154-10-201105170-00016
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2011;154(10):705.
TO THE EDITOR:
Two major themes emerge in Liu's article “An Oasis in Time” (1). The first theme, as the title of the article states, is time. This theme specifically refers to the clear benefits that physicians and, I presume, our patients would accrue if we had more of it to spend with them. The second theme, which Liu discusses in a more nebulous manner, is communication, particularly the significant downside of inadequate or, worse, poor communication among physicians and other care providers.
I'm more interested in communication, not only because of its consequences to patients but also because of its effect on physician workload and the frustration of managing it. I observe the troubling paradox of diminishing quality of physician communication while the technology of communication has dramatically improved. Current technology has seduced us into believing that just sending an “e” or a stack of redundant electronic or printed notes with a few well-hidden quanta of useful information suffices for adequate communication.
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