How doctors feel about cellphones in the exam room

When it comes to our cellphones, many of us are guilty of some pretty bad manners.

We'll talk on the phone pretty much anytime, anywhere.

Even in the exam room at the doctor's office.

"It's unnerving sometimes," says Dr. Meera Garcia, an obstetrician with North Atlanta OB-GYN's Dr. Meera Garcia.

She says she and her colleagues have a few pet peeves when it comes to exam room etiquette.

"I think one would be, if you're on the phone when I walk into the room, when I knock and walk into the room, please show me the respect and politely get off the phone," Dr. Garcia says.  "You don't have to hang up on the person.   Just say, 'Hey, my doctor just walked into the room, I'm going to have my conversation with my doctor.'"

Garcia says she's doesn't mind patients taking notes, or bringing along a trusted family member to provide another set of ears.

"But, one of the things that is very frustrating, in this day and age, when you're a physician, is people that are videotaping you, they're recording you," Dr. Garcia explains.  "They're on Facetime with family members, and they don't share that with you."

If she senses someone else listening in on her conversation with a patient, Garcia says, she nips it in the bud.

"I will directly address it," Dr. Garcia says.  " I'll say 'Is someone on the phone? Are we having this conversation with someone else?' And, it's not like we're going to say, 'No, don't record me!'  But, there are certain conversations that are private."

Because Dr. Garcia says, patients need to be able to tell their doctors everything, even the hard stuff, the secrets.

Physicians, she says, are bound by law, and take an oath, not to break that confidential relationship they have with their patients.

So, both you and your doctor need to do your part to keep that confidence.

 "I want you to be able to trust me completely, and I want to get accurate information," Garcia says. "I want to give you the best advice possible. And, the only way to do that is to at least have a certain amount of time when it's just you and me having a conversation."

The average doctor's appointment lasts only about 15 minutes in the U.S.

So, our face-to-face time with our physician is pretty limited.

That may be one more reason to silence the phone and pay attention.