Physician, writer to speak about technology in medicine

Guest speaker Danielle Ofri, MD, PhD, will discuss the impact of technology on health care.

Guest speaker Danielle Ofri, MD, PhD, will discuss the impact of technology on health care.

The guest speaker at the Summer Academy Plenary is Danielle Ofri, MD, PhD. A physician at Bellevue Hospital, the oldest public hospital in the U.S., Dr. Ofri also writes about medicine and the doctor-patient connection for the New York Times and numerous other publications. She is also the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Bellevue Literary Review, the first literary journal to arise from a medical setting.

On Friday, Aug. 2, Dr. Ofri will present “Tools of the Trade: Old and New Technologies in Medicine.” In her presentation, she’ll discuss how computers have become ubiquitous in medicine and how they impact every aspect of the field. She also will point out that computers are only one of the many tools of medicine.

“This talk was inspired by a patient of mine at Bellevue. She made me think about the tools of medicine — those that we take for granted, and those that dazzle us with seemingly sure-fire technology. On the one hand, the speed of change in medicine is dizzying. But on the other hand, these changes can be quite superficial when compared with the fundamentals that continue to serve us,” Dr. Ofri said. With a backdrop of medical humanities, her lecture will attempt to place computers in the larger context of “tools of the trade,” with a specific focus on the doctor-patient relationship.

In her lecture, Dr. Ofri will offer the patient perspective as well. “The gathering of the patient’s story is really the essence of understanding the patient’s concerns and how best to address them. The interesting thing about the story — which cannot be said for the computer or the MRI or pacemakers, or most of the other tools of medicine — is that it involves two parties. The moment a patient’s story unfolds, the doctor, whether wittingly or not, becomes a character in that story,” she said.

A prolific writer, Dr. Ofri is the author of four books about the world of medicine, including her newest book, What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine, which examines how emotions influence quality of care.