In today’s connected world, it can be necessary to fill up every free second checking emails and responding to never-ending phone notifications. It is common for me to hear buzzes and beeps emanating from purses and pockets while I am in exam rooms, and as a doctor, I can empathize with feeling like you’re always on call. That’s why I’d like to suggest some guidelines for technology in the exam room, so that together we can create an intentional and respectful place for us all to be present and focused.
My first suggestion is to think of the appointment as an opportunity for you to disconnect. Consider turning your phone on airplane mode when you leave the waiting room so that we can focus on your concerns about your child. When medical personnel aren’t physically in the room, take advantage of the alone time with your child to connect and engage in conversation, about their health or their concerns or their day at school or anything else that may arise.
If turning your phone on airplane mode seems too extreme, please consider at least turning off your audible notifications. This will help all of our staff give 100% of their attention to you and your child, as whistles, songs, music, and videos can be distracting for us as well.
Finally, if a sibling is attending the appointment, avoid parking them in front of an iPad or tablet at full volume in the exam room. It is difficult for me to communicate with your child and with you over the top of the electronics. Truthfully, it can be useful for younger siblings to observe the interactions during an examination to increase their own comfort with doctors and decrease anxiety for their future visits. If you do give your child electronics, consider bringing headphones for the visit.
By following these guidelines, I am confident that we can create a dedicated environment in the exam room based on mutual respect for everyone present. At MD Pediatrics, we are your family’s partner in health, and together we can achieve better health outcomes and set good examples for our children.