How Does a Busy Physician Keep up With Things?

Author:Camillo Thomas Gualtieri

A busy physician can see more than 30 patients in the course of the day, five days per week. Then he sees the patient again in follow-up a month or two later. How does he remember exactly what that patient was like a month or two ago? Patients must assume that physicians are capable of extraordinary feats of memory; would that such were the case.

Physicians remember as well or as poorly as anyone else. High intelligence and advanced education does not necessarily improve one’s memory. That is why physicians rely on the medical record. The record, however is limited in the information it conveys. Not even electronic medical records presents patient data dynamically, that is comparing past and present states in graphs and tables.

C Thomas Gualtieri, an American neuropsychiatrist, has developed an Internet-based symptom questionnaire that tracks a patient’s clinical status over time and presents the data, updated, at every visit. The neuropsych questionnaire has been developed specifically for use by neurologists and psychiatrists, but can be adjusted for virtually any specialty. “The advantage of a dynamic record,” said Dr. Gualtieri, “Is that it permits a physician to review the patient’s clinical state in multiple areas, to ask all of the relevant questions, and have the data in hand before he or she meets the patient during a follow-up visit.” The neuropsych questionnaire, is freely available on the Internet at

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