It happened again three times in clinic today. In the middle of a patient visit, a parent picked up their cell phone. To answer a call, to text a friend, to read their email. The trend of being always connected and available has reached the exam room. When this first started happening I was sort of incredulous. I mean, I’m there, talking to you about your child’s health, and you’re taking a call?
Then something interesting happened. I got a smart phone, and I started to get more connected myself. I downloaded a few apps. And, it was great. I could read my email or the newspaper anytime. I could use the phone during a clinic visit to check a drug dose or potential side effect. Eventually, and here’s the confession part, I found myself start to be sort of drawn to the phone. I pull it out while waiting in line at the post office. I take it out of my pocket at work to use the calculator and suddenly find that my email is open and I am reading it. This seems to happen as if all on its own. I have to close it, remember what I was doing, and move on. I even sometimes have to consciously stop myself from grabbing the phone while driving.