Do Doctors Spend Too Much Time Looking at a Computer Screen?

A study published by the International Journal of Medical Informatics, found that “doctors who use electronic health records (EHR) in the exam room spend about a third of their visits looking at a computer screen.”

When physicians’ are constantly looking at the computer, they are not effectively communicating with their patients and hindering their ability to listen, problem-solve and think creatively.  The sole purpose of the EHR is to “enable health care workers to provide more effective, efficient, coordinated care.” After the study was conducted, research has suggested that EHRs used in the exam room effects “communication quality, cognitive functioning and the ability of patients and physicians to build a rapport and establish an emotional common ground.”

An EMR/EHR system is vital to the long term success of a practice. Being aware of the effect this has on the quality of communication with patients is very important for doctors to keep in mind to balance both technology and personal communication.