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UPenn Doctor: Medicine Moving From Bedside To “Desktop”

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Medicine is moving from the bedside to the desk top, that according to a doctor at the University of Pennsylvania medical school.

Bedside medicine involves diagnosing illness and treating symptoms, but Dr. Jason Karlawish says medicine has advanced to the stage where doctors can identify risk factors for conditions, such as high blood pressure, and can intervene before it develops.

He calls this desktop medicine.

“It’s a phrase that describes more and more where doctors and patients are meeting.”

Dr. Karlawish says this shift will change the way doctors are trained and how they practice.

“Physicians are practicing desktop medicine, they are, right now. I think though, they’re practicing it with some skills and tools that are less than adequate and one of my appeals is that we need to rethink how we’re running medicine in order to better practice desktop medicine.”

He says future med students will have to be as skilled in statistics, risk management and psychology as they are in biochemistry and anatomy.

“If we don’t have students that are enthusiastic and trained to take care of these desktop diseases, we’re not going to be able to serve our patients.”

Reported By: Pat Loeb, KYW Newsradio

More from Pat Loeb
  • Stephanie Patterson

    Who says that newer is always better. Sorry, Dr. Karlawish, but I would not trust any doctor who diagnoses and “treats” me via desktop. I respect the PHYSICIANS who sit down with a patient and make eye contact (not computer contact) and then perform a proper exam, followed by explaining my condition and any meds or treatment plan and follow-up necessary.


    • drrozkaplan

      I hope we can have both the benefit of technology and evidence-based care as well as the benefit of the physician who is personal and caring and communicative with his/her patients. It’s a difficult task to be present during patient encounters and also use the technological resources available to us, but to serve our patients well, we are going to have to try.-
      Rosalind Kaplan M.D., FACP

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