The Old Man and the Doctor Fable

Posted on August 23, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

A while back I came across an amazing fable called The Old Man and the Doctor. I was trying to think of a way I could use part of it to entice you to go and read the entire Fable, but there’s no way to take a piece of it. You just have to go and read the whole thing. It has a couple twists and turns that really shocked me. If you haven’t read it yet, go read it now. This post will be here when you’re done. (Note: I’d love to see an amazing story teller tell this Fable at a future TedMed).

While just a Fable, it highlights a real challenging problem that every doctor faces: mixing technology with human touch.

I know some people who are working really hard on trying to solve this problem. How do we get the granular data elements that we need to improve healthcare while still preserving the human touch of a doctor?

This is not an easy problem to solve, and I’m sorry to say that most EHR implementations often do more harm than good when it comes to the physician-patient relationship. Various reimbursement and regulation requirements aren’t helping either. No doubt the Fable above is warning us of this shift.

I think this problem can be solved if we’re aware of it and work to solve it. I don’t think it can be solved by one individual either. It like takes a mix of vendors, doctors, nurses, consultants, etc to make the patient visit experience more human while still meeting the documentation demands. Hopefully this amazing Fable will help more people to become aware of this challenge.