Have you ever been frustrated having a conversation with your doctor? There is a reason for this. It’s called the electronic medical record or EMR, the computerized version of your visit. In theory it sounds like a good idea, get all of your information on a computer screen and make it accessible and transferrable. There is a deeper reason for this, making sure the healthcare professional is asking all the questions to verify his billing code. To accomplish this the doctor has to continually type into the computer without looking at the patient. Pretty personal, huh? It destroys one of the most important parts of the doctor/patient relationship the personal conversation. This is the time you learn things that can be very important about your patient. For instance, I saw a patient for some ear pain. He was an outdoorsman and I always enjoyed listening to his adventures. On this particular day, he told me about this huge fish he lost ice fishing. He said the cold weather made him cough. I asked him if he ever smoked, and he said he had for twenty years but stopped. I mentioned to him that most docs get a CT scan of the chest with that type of history. He casually accepted the test and I saw him back a week later. Guess what the CT scan showed? Not cancer, but a calcium deposit on the left side of the chest. I said this could be in his heart and gave him the name of a cardiologist. I saw him back a month later. He told me that the cardiologist found a 95% blockage of his left anterior descending coronary artery. They call it the “widow maker”. After they put a stent in, he was fine. All because he had a conversation with his doctor about fishing.