The other night at bedtime, my 11 year-old daughter shared with me, “you’re lucky you grew up before smartphones.” She was lamenting that many of the people she wants to interact with, old-school style, are consumed by their phones.

Yesterday after a waiter took our order at a restaurant, my 8 year-old son said, “it seems like he doesn’t like his job.” The waiter had struggled to keep up with our order as he pecked his way through the order entry system on his device.

No surprise, this made me share with my family how the waiter’s experience reminds me of what it’s like to see patients these days. Clinicians yearn for more eye contact and more opportunity for empathy. We wish we could be more present. We’ll recover this in 5 or 10 years, maybe via inconspicuous scribes peering in through our Google Glass or when value-based healthcare frees EHRs from being mere billing tools.

I expect we’ll be getting back our eye contact with waiters sooner than with doctors, as order entry for food and drink is evolving more quickly than order entry for meds and scans.

I’m optimistic about all of this, except for the all the kids my daughter wants to talk to. Here’s to more innovation to keep us looking at each other and learning from each other.