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I’m becoming a Technology Grinch!

May 26, 2010

Don’t get me wrong, I love my computer! I have spent many days, nights and weekends creating patient handouts, refining Power Point presentations and emailing family, friends and patients. I even enjoy ordering outdoor recreational gear through the many great websites. But sometimes I think this whole technology revolution is a bit out of hand. Even our computer nerds at work talk about how many programs I have installed on my computer and sympathize with me!

What other health care providers do you know that are using electronic medical records, Dragon Speak, downloading multiple pumps and meters, using professional and personal CGMS software and trying to keep some reasonable list of appropriate websites for patients? When an insulin pump representative comes in to talk to you about their new software, do you ever feel like shutting the door in their face? They are SOOOOO excited about the new software and all I can think of is: Oh no!! Another learning curve!

No offense to “Dragon Speak” and it’s great creators, but I just about lost it when I was told I needed to learn yet another computer driven system. My computer even gets mad at me and shuts down sometimes. I think it is just trying too hard to multi-task! I jokingly mentioned to a colleague that my 1 hour patient appointments are 55 minutes of computer time and 5 minutes talking with the patient.

So why am I writing this blog? Frankly, part of it is just to vent! But it does go way beyond that. In this day of rapid information searches and computer driven documentation, we need to remember the basics. What really should drive our practice is what we can do for our patients.

If a new glucometer that rewards a kid with games helps to motivate him to check blood sugars more often, we should embrace it. If an Internet site makes record keeping for patients easier and allows them to learn from the recorded data, we need to be grateful. If we can download a patient’s insulin pump and help the patient learn about adjustments and the value of carbohydrate counting, we should be overjoyed. However, if the technology we are using interferes with patient-centered care, we need to pause and reconsider.

Sometimes I feel I have become a technician rather than an educator... However, if the technology and software can truly enhance our ability to link with our patients, create an environment of learning and provide documentation to enhance communication among the health care team members, I need to take ten deep breaths and forge ahead. After all, that download I did today was very insightful and provided the patient with amazing insight into her blood sugar trends and patterns. Guess I’ll keep it!

How are you handling our computer-driven diabetes world? Do you have some tips to assure patient-centered education, while maintaining up-to-date technological skills? I’d love to hear from you!

3 comments

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  1. Jun 10, 2010

    I was just thinking about this topic yesterday! One tip I have is whenever possible, encourage the more tech saavy patients to download at home, print, and bring preferred reports to their clinic visits. Then at least SOME of the downloads are done for you. Many more people than I ever expected really enjoy having download capabilities at home! Another benefit to the pt. is that their visit can be 55 minutes focused on their diabetes instead of 5 minutes because of downloading issues! :o)
  2. May 31, 2010

    Thanks for your tech thoughts, Carla. I agree and also wish I had tips to assure patient-centered education in the midst of software, cables and shut-downs. Susan Burkhart, RN, MSN, CDE, BC=ADM
  3. May 29, 2010

    Technology and computer applications were originally meant to simplify our work, and give us a better way to manage the burgeoning amount of information that is bombarding us. To the extent that technology can do this for us it is beneficial. There is definitely a learning curve to overcome and it may well be that the adoption of technology is easier for the younger members of the community. There are many times when our clients already have hands on the technology aspects of new applications before we do, pulling us along! Our clients are the bellwether for what works.

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