Hey, Doc. I’m Over Here.Posted by Medicare Made Clear
Remember when the doctor’s exam room was lined with big glass jars of tongue depressors and cotton balls? Back then, a lot of doctors even made house calls. It was just you, the doctor, and maybe your mom, sitting together and talking.
A doctor visit today is a lesson in efficiency. Everything is arranged and synchronized to allow the doctor to enter, do what needs to be done, and exit with ease.
Many doctors and other providers are now required to use a computer to record visit details into an electronic medical record (EMR). EMRs allow patient information to be shared between primary care doctors and specialists and between clinics and hospitals. This can help improve communication and reduce errors.
Doctors using EMRs may spend a lot of visit time looking at the computer screen instead of at you. This may make you feel like you’re not getting the attention or quality of care that you want.
The work your doctor does on the computer is a benefit to you and your care. Try to be patient. You may also take an active role in your visits to help you and your doctor get the most from your time together. For example:
- Come to your doctor visits prepared, and participate; bring a list of questions and be clear about what you want from the visit
- View the computer as a tool that helps you and your doctor communicate
- Ask your doctor to explain what information he or she is entering into the computer; verify that it’s correct and that you understand it
- Ask to see data or test results on the computer screen when your doctor is discussing them with you
- Tell your doctor you want to help build an accurate medical record that benefits your care
- Ask the doctor to close the computer screen if you feel it’s interfering with your goals for the visit
Many Electronic Medical Records have patient portals that allow you to log on from home to view your test results and other personal health information. You may be able to use it to communicate with your doctor by email and to schedule appointments as well.
Doctor visits may have changed from the good old days, but change can be positive. Today, both you and your doctor have access to a lot more information and tools. The key is to use them to enhance the doctor-patient relationship.
For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.
Medicare.gov: Visit the official U.S. government site for Medicare.