I read a fascinating review of Eric Tool’s latest book ‘Deep Medicine: How Artificial intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again’.

What drew my attention was the fact that in the US, a first-time appointment with a doctor and a patient in 1975 was scheduled for 1 hour. In 2019, it’s 12 minutes. (I’m sure most of us in the UK in 2019 experience similar short and snappy appointments, if you can get an appointment that is.) Significantly, this Senior Californian-based doctor, a strong advocate for technological innovation in healthcare, emphasises the cost and lives saved when a doctor invests time in the patient relationship. For example, ‘For every extra minute a home visit lasts there was a reduced risk of hospital readmission of 8%’.

If only similar studies were done to demonstrate the value of personal interaction in offices! It may be faster to send an e-mail rather than speak to a colleague in person but half the time, it is not better or smarter.