During our discussion — as we commiserated about how physicians and nurses are glued to their computer screens nowadays, clicking boxes, and typing away furiously on their keyboards — he said something that struck a chord. He said, “You know what Suneel, the stories have really gone from medicine.”
What did he mean by this? He elaborated, and we continued talking. In a nutshell, what he meant was that in the past, every patient was a story. A unique person. A human being. This patient was well known to their personal physician, whom they usually had a good and strong relationship with. Even when documenting information in a hospital, when a physician saw a patient (regardless of whether that physician already knew the patient), there would be a story that would appear on the computer or in the chart in the form of a transcribed letter. This was either a history and physical report or a discharge summary. It would take the form of a narrative, in proper English with logical paragraphs and sentence construction, and tell you all about what was wrong with the patient, their individual history, and the diagnosis and treatment plan.