Article Text

Download PDFPDF
47 The wow consultation
  1. Sheonad Laidlaw and
  2. Emma Carduff
  1. Marie Curie Care, Glasgow, UK


Marie Curie Care are in the final stages of implementing an Electronic Patient Records (EPR) and Patient Administration System (PAS), via EmisWeb, enabling the recording of real time patient data on the ward by means of Workstations on Wheels (WOWS). It is hoped that the WOWs will be used at the bedside but health care professionals (HCP) are concerned that this will affect the patient centred care that is the cornerstone of Palliative Care.

Computers are common place in general practice. Studies by Pearce et al (2011, 2008) have been conducted looking at the relationship and interaction between doctor, patient and computer – the third party in the consultation – and show that the doctor-patient relationship changes as each relates to the computer. No research has looked at this relationship in palliative care.

A qualitative study was conducted at the Glasgow hospice using a questionnaire exploring the staff’s feelings about using the WOW in a consultation; their perception of how the patient and their family would feel; how they think that the computer will affect the consultation; and the positives and negatives of using a computer with their patients.

Results show that staff are hesitant and nervous of using WOWs by the bedside, seeing it as a physical barrier to verbal and non-verbal communication, potentially impeding the rapport – and ultimately the relationship - between HCP and patient. Staff see the benefit of using computers to capture patient centred data but not at the expense of their relationship with the patient.


  1. . Pearce, C, et al. (2011) “The patient and the computer in the primary care consultation”J Am Med Inform Assoc18 (2): 138–142

  2. . Pearce, C, et al. (2008) “Computers in the new consultation: within the first minute”Fam Pract2008 Jun; 25 (3): 202–8

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.