There's no escaping the hold technology has on our world. Even doctors succumb to the pressures of responding to e-mail and text messages, even while caring for patients. And the problem doesn't seem to be improving.
"Young physicians, and even middle-aged physcians, are starting to be very much distracted by all the electronic devices that we carry."
Dr. Peter Papadakos, Director of Critical Care Medicine at the University of Rochester in New York, says the wide acceptance of the electronic medical records in hospitals and doctors' offices lend itself to the epidemic of what he calls "distracted doctoring."
"The temptation of having computers surrounding you are very much in play."
He says the study conducted at the University of Rochester has uncovered patient complaints of a diminished level of attention from physicians, something Papadakos says could be easily remedied.
"All it would have taken is the doctor to have mentioned, Mrs. Jones, we've examined you, now I'm checking your laboratories on my smart device."
Papadakos says it's not just doctors -- but everyone-- who has their noses in their mobile devices. However, it's doctors who he says are held more accountable for their distraction.
"I think doctors are held to a much higher standard, and we want to be held to a much higher standard."
And there are legal implications for checking your e-mail before your patient.
"If you're your phone, your smartpad, your computer at work, that may not have the appropriate protection to protect patient confidentiality under the HIPA regulations."
Papadakos recently spoke at a seminar at LSU Health Shreveport. The school is developing an educational program about the proper etiquette for using personal electronic devices during consultations with patients.