SFGate recently posted an article regarding physicians who had frustrations with the transition to electronic medical records (EMR). While some of the complaints seemed somewhat trivial and likely to decrease over time as physicians got used to the system, one complaint stuck a chord with me:
…patients also have complained about less eye contact during office visits because physicians turn away while typing on a keyboard.
I recently visited a specialist who, prior to meeting with me, had on of his medical students review my chart and ask questions about any changes there might had been. And the student did spend a significant amount of the time facing away from me while standing at the computer making adjustments. But the student was still verbally engaged. When the doctor came in for the actual consult, he made frequent eye contact and only directed the medical student to input data rather than inputting it himself. It worked, but obviously required that I be comfortable with there being more bodies in the room.
It raises questions about what the concrete changes to customary medical practice might be based on changes in technology. Are there any other steps that medical professionals can take to minimize the discomfort caused by changes in techology?
- Achieving Patient Safety with EMRs (medcitynews.com)
- New Information on the Importance of EMR Portability Shared by Chhoda (prweb.com)
- Why Physicians Prefer to choose their own EMR software? (medcitynews.com)