Physician EHR use in particular is affecting the overall patient-doctor relationship during a medical visit. Learn about electronic medical records (EMR) and how they play a role in the doctor-patient relationship. Call us today for your medical billing. A study has found EHR use has both positive and negative effects on the doctor/ patient relationship. By Katie Wike, contributing writer.
The patient has noticed increased efficiency in retrieving test data and consultation notes; nevertheless, he is considering changing practices. The patient says that his physician no longer looks at him when he speaks and spends most of the visit typing silently, which makes the patient uncomfortable. When the patient brought up a difficult personal issue, his physician just nodded and continued to type.
The interview also felt unnatural and controlled by prompts on the computer screen. Is it possible for physicians to avoid distancing themselves from patients when using an EHR? Commentary In the United States, 28 percent of primary care physicians use EHRs, and another 31 percent plan to implement the system within the next year.
As with many of the other tools new to the clinical arena in the last few decades, physicians are still learning to adjust to EHRs. Recent research has offered the following conclusions about how the use of EHRs during an office visit may affect the physician-patient relationship: In general, patients are equally satisfied with physicians who use EHRs and those who use paper charts 3 ; however, some patients feel confused by certain behaviors, such as the physician looking at the computer monitor without explanation.
There are several ways family physicians can address this question. It is important that physicians recognize that integration of an EHR system into clinical practice is not complete when they become adept at navigating the software—it is vital that they also examine how to use the tool with patients. Colleagues shadowing each other while using an EHR can help identify effective strategies.
Physicians should regularly and communally review how they use EHRs during patient visits, sharing with other practice members what has and has not been effective. Given their cumbersome nature, the EHR, long touted as a way to dramatically improve patient care, often does just the opposite, Minor believes. Many physicians are fed up with the amount of documentation required in EHRs.
Many feel they spend more time as data-entry clerks than as doctors. Studies bear that out. The study looked at physicians in family practice, internal medicine, cardiology and orthopedics.
Do EHRs Help Or Hurt DoctorPatient Relationships
A smaller study published in April by Health Affairs, focusing on primary care physicians, also found about a split in direct patient care time versus desktop medicine.
When doctors do spend time in the exam room with patients, they spent 37 percent of that time looking at the computer, the study estimated.
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- The Impact of Physician EHR Usage on Patient Satisfaction.
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Albert Chan, a family practice physician and the chief of digital patient experience for the Sutter Health Network. Doctors now need to report a series of quality measurements, provide proper insurance coding, and introduce more legalistic wording into the EHR to prevent lawsuits, he says. Fifty-four percent of physicians reported at least one symptom of burnout, according to a recent Mayo Clinic study.
How Do EHRs Affect the Physician-Patient Relationship?
A separate Mayo study found that a higher risk of burnout was linked to frustrations with the data-entry workload of EHRs. Chan says, many medical groups and physicians rushed to install EHR systems.Dr-Patient interaction /PC-EMR
That means the search function may not work well, or the system may require multiple keystrokes and screens to accomplish common tasks. You can automatically alert patients about their conditions, for example; you can personalize their care.