Abraham Verghese has a moving and pointed reflection about the ubiquity of technology in the hospital:
When students arrive on the wards full time, white coats packed with the aforementioned instruments, measuring tape, tuning fork, flashlight and Snellen eye chart, they are shocked to find that the focus on the ward doesn’t revolve around the patients but around the computers lining the bunkers where students, residents and attending physicians spend the majority of their time, backs to one another. All dialogue among them and other hospital staff members — every order, every lab request and result — must pass through this electronic portal, even if the person whose inbox you are about to overload is seated next to you.
In America today, the patient in the hospital bed is just the icon, a place holder for the real patient who is not in the bed but in the computer. That virtual entity gets all our attention.