Do EHR’s have a negative impact on doctor-patient encounters?

What do you think about the doctor-patient relationship?  Tell us about your last patient visit with your physician.  How long was the visit?  Were all of your issues addressed?  Did you have your doctor’s complete attention?  Was he/she frustrated?

“MedScape’s “EHR Report 2012” survey (access requires free MedScape registration) of over 21,000 physicians found that 30% of respondents reported EHRs had a negative impact on the doctor-patient relationship. Of those, 80% said it was due to less eye contact with patients and 75% said there was less conversational time. One physician cited said, “I feel like I’m treating the computer and not the patient.  There’s more focus on documentation than on the patient during the patient visit.”

Increased dissatisfaction and decreased productivity.  

A March 2013 survey conducted by the American College of Physicians and AmericanEHR Partners found that physicians who were very satisfied with their EHR dropped by 6% while those reporting to be “very dissatisfied” increased by 10%.  A total of 34% of physicians now report being “very dissatisfied” with the EHRs, up from 19% in 2010.  Other key points include:

* The ACP’s summary noted that “survey responses also indicated that it is becoming more difficult to return to pre-EHR implementation productivity. In 2012, 32% of the responders had not returned to normal productivity compared with 20% in 2010.”

* Alan Brookstone, MD, co-founder of AmericanEHR Partners, said that “basic functions, such as documentation, continue to be an issue for many physicians.”

Why This is Important”

“For medical transcription service organizations, these studies reinforce why hundreds of thousands of healthcare providers continue to prefer dictation and transcription as their primary method of generating their clinical documentation.  Our responsibility as healthcare professionals is to proactively inform our clients that dictation and transcription have important advantages over EHR-based templating – especially in relation to physician productivity and a physician’s ability to connect with his or her patients.”