Friday, October 30, 2009

Hey, Doctors! Time to Feng Shui it Up!

So, the Mayo Clinic conducted a study to see how patients were affected by the rooms where they met with their doctors. (Not the exam rooms where they run all the tests on you, the rooms where you actually sit and talk with your doctor about what's wrong with you and what might go wrong with you.)

It was an okay test, I suppose. It turns out that in "experimental" setups where patients sat next to their doctor and looked at the same computer screen during the consultation, patients were more engaged in their treatement and received a better quality of care. That seems like kind of a no-brainer; if you give patients a chance to get involved with their own treatment, they will. (I imagine that this new setup for doctors is a pain in the ass, though.)

I don't think that the study went far enough. Sure, patients and doctors do well when side by side facing a computer screen. What about on roller skates and facing a computer screen? Or when suspended over a shark tank and facing a computer screen? What if the computer screen is replaced with a medical textbook? An informational documentary on molluscs? An angry badger with a toothache? Inquiring minds want to know! For Science!

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The header image is adapted from a photo taken by Bill McChesney and used under a creative commons license.
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