Clickety-Clack Don’t Talk Back

Notre Dame Cathedral

“Doc. You need to stop all that typing! It’s like texting on cell phones. It’s a pet peeve of mine!”

He was upset already because I had asked him why he was physically punishing his teenage son.

“Seeeee…. I don’t need you to tell me how to discipline my kids. I can spank or hit them if I want.”

He had a point.

Not about the hitting.

About the typing.

Patients text all of the time during office visits and it is terribly distracting. I worry that they are not hearing me.

Uh-huh, doc….

I try to do as much charting as I can while I am in the room with the patient. I am a pretty good typist and can type in a whole paragraph of what a patient is saying without breaking eye contact. I have several reasons why I do this:

First, if there are more than two items of business (average is 3-7 issues per visit) things can get confusing very fast. This way I can document the history and input orders and meds as we go. Decreases errors.

Second, I feel like doing it there in the room instead of stepping out after a few minutes so I can chart the rest of the appointment time gives me more time with the patient and maybe improves patient satisfaction. We can joke and laugh and talk about their family while I am putting in orders and such.

Third, if I do as much as I can while I am in the office, I have more time at night for myself instead of spending a couple of hours a night charting after the kids go to bed.

This was the first time I had a patient complain, but my keyboard clicks loudly while my fingers fly. Maybe it bothers people more than I realize and they are just being nice?

So I thought I would ask you all what you think. Would you rather have a longer time with a typing doctor or less time with no typing?


155 thoughts on “Clickety-Clack Don’t Talk Back

  1. I Prefer more time with the doctor. Immediate notes are best… Improves accuracy.

    Sometimes I talk while my doc is typing, I think that happens to fill in the gaps of silence. But I do try to wait until they are done typing to continue with a separate issue. Most I’ve seen are good at maintaining eye contact or alternating between screen and face contact.

    I usually have a list of questions so need to refer to my phone from time to time, I simply ask their permission so they don’t think I’m on Facebook or something. Perhaps it will ease the frustration if you simply ask your patients their preference at the beginning of the visit. Or at least explain why you prefer to take notes in office. I’m sure they’ll understand.

    In the old days the doc would be sitting with patient’s chart in hand as he/she scribbled the info as fast as possible. I was always worried they would not understand their own handwriting afterwards. What if they were transferred and another doc took over and had to decipher all those scribbles in my chart. I’m glad for computers. I’m just waiting on a universal system that will keep all my medical history regardless of what doctor I see.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The universal system has issues. I am part of a large system and nursing staff at specialist offices in the system remove meds that they should not, change histories and diagnoses that they should not. It can get to be a huge mess. Plus, they never read my notes even though they are right there. Frustrating. As a patient it can be bad, too. If you get one physician in the system who puts something in there that taints everyone else’s experience with you… Getting that expunged could be tough. Sometimes it is nice to have someone take a fresh look at you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I also have a doctor that does the type and stop and that is my preference. The screen and keyboard face the wall which takes away any barriers and allows for the eye contact.

    In general, I dislike noisy keyboards and I especially dislike the noisy typers where the end of each thought / sentence is punctuated by a hard slap of the keyboard. It’s a distraction and any time saved is lost to poorer communication.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: My Article Read (2-21-2015) | My Daily Musing

  4. Type away Doc, my doctor does the same thing and the extra time helps me remember things I want to ask him. He has the chance to type everything right there and it helps him not to forget anything as well. People tend to forget that doctors are people too. :o)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. He sounds like someone who thinks he knows the proper way the whole world should run, and that’s at his convenience. He didn’t speak from a place of compassion or understanding or empathy, I would say he spoke from a place of self-righteous indignation. That is how abusive people control others. They always have a defendable position. She angered me. She hit me first. She was texting and using bad manners. She was disrespectful. Don’t fall for that. Speaking as one who was abused in my life, don’t let him get a toe-hold in your mind. He was just deflecting your attention from his wrong-doing onto you. It’s a classic strategy that works.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I know this is an older post, but I thought of it recently when I was visiting a new doctor who handled the typing thing in a way I hadn’t seen before. The computer was on a moveable arm thing, and she pulled it over to where I was sitting on the exam table and turned it so I could see it. Then she stood next to me and entered information while I was watching. She would make eye contact with me to ask a question and hear my answer, and then we would both turn to the computer while she typed things in (or selected them from a drop-down chart). I’m not sure I would have liked the idea had someone described it to me ahead of time, but I really appreciated it when I experienced it. Really helped build trust (although of course, I have no idea what she typed about me after I left…)

    So, now I’ve shared a data entry technique I like and that your posts stick with me, apparently.

    Liked by 1 person

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