EMR Use Might Distract Clinicians from Patient Interaction

Wed, May 26, 2010

Breaking News

Will using EMRs cause physicians to sacrifice personal communication with patients?

While electronic medical records (EMRs) have their downsides – the main one being start-up expenses – a new possible problem is revealed in a recent report released by the Center for Studying Health System Change.

In “Electronic Medical Records and Communication with Patients and Other Clinicians: Are We Talking Less?,” coauthors Ann S. O’Malley, Genna R. Cohen, and Joy M. Grossman report on the results of interviews with clinicians in 26 physician practices.

While EMRs provide immediate access to patient data, cutting down on time spent searching for information in paper records, they can also pose a distraction for clinicians during visits with patients. “Ironically, EMRs have enabled some clinicians to engage less with patients because, relative to paper charts, so much more information is available before actually seeing the patient,” according to the report.…

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