The Old Man and the Doctor Fable

A while back I came across an amazing fable called The Old Man and the Doctor. I was trying to think of a way I could use part of it to entice you to go and read the entire Fable, but there’s no way to take a piece of it. You just have to go and read the whole thing. It has a couple twists and turns that really shocked me. If you haven’t read it yet, go read it now. This post will be here when you’re done. (Note: I’d love to see an amazing story teller tell this Fable at a future TedMed).

While just a Fable, it highlights a real challenging problem that every doctor faces: mixing technology with human touch.

I know some people who are working really hard on trying to solve this problem. How do we get the granular data elements that we need to improve healthcare while still preserving the human touch of a doctor?

This is not an easy problem to solve, and I’m sorry to say that most EHR implementations often do more harm than good when it comes to the physician-patient relationship. Various reimbursement and regulation requirements aren’t helping either. No doubt the Fable above is warning us of this shift.

I think this problem can be solved if we’re aware of it and work to solve it. I don’t think it can be solved by one individual either. It like takes a mix of vendors, doctors, nurses, consultants, etc to make the patient visit experience more human while still meeting the documentation demands. Hopefully this amazing Fable will help more people to become aware of this challenge.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.