Human touch in healthcare

Medicine has grown significantly in its ability to diagnose and treat biological disease. Doctors can be proud of their ability to eradicate once fatal infections, prevent heart attacks and transplant failing organs.

Three innovations based on information technology—clinical practice guidelines, electronic medical records, and large-scale population science—will bring medicine into a new biological revolution.

But modern medicine is in danger of losing a powerful, old-fashioned tool: human touch. Physician and writer Abraham Verghese describes our strange new world where patients are merely data points, and calls for a return to the traditional one-on-one physical exam.

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