HealthDay News –   The impact of electronic health records (EHRs) on the physician-patient relationship was examined in an article published in Medical Economics.

Cheryl L. Branche, MD, discusses the impact of the EHR on the physician-patient relationship. The author notes that as a former practicing physician, she can appreciate the role of the EHR in reducing errors related to poor handwriting, improving retrieval of results, and facilitating research.

However, according to the author, many physicians do not like the EHR, especially the task of entering data in the fields of the EHR. Furthermore, in her experience as a patient, the author notes that the EHR is like a third person in the examination room, receiving more attention than the patient. 


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The patient expects privacy and to be treated with dignity and does not expect the doctor to be multitasking by performing data entry and focusing on the EHR.

“When I look to the future I wonder about the younger digital EHR native doctors and the future of patient care and compassion,” Branche writes. “How can we assure that care and compassion will be kept as important tools in the doctor’s black bag? Will there be a box to click once a given dose of attention and compassion is provided? Will care and compassion even be on the checklist of things to do during the physician-EHR-patient encounter?”

Summary and Clinical Applicability

There are many benefits associated with EHR use, including standardizing documentation, improving provider-to-provider communication, and facilitating reliable patient care.  There exists some concern, however, that charting associated with EHRs may negatively affect the patient experience.

Reference

Branche CL. EHRs are ruining the physician-patient relationship. Medical Economics. Published online April 16, 2016. Source code.