Clinicians perceive electronic health records as a barrier to patient engagement but patients feel otherwise

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Researchers report the results of a survey to assess the impact of electronic health record use during face-to-face visits in the primary care setting. Fifty-nine clinicians (including physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners) and 1,000 adult patients were surveyed. Clinicians reported that when they used an EHR system during a patient visit, they felt that they maintained less eye contact (79.1%); listened less carefully (53.5%); focused less on patients (65.1%); and that the visit felt less personal overall (62.8%). Only one-third of providers felt that patients perceived EHR use as a positive experience.

However, most surveyed patients felt that use of the EHR was a positive experience (91.7%). Additionally, patients reported that clinicians using EHR technology during their visit provided sufficient eye contact (96.8%) and listened carefully (97.0%). They also disagreed that practitioners focused less on them (86.7%) and visits felt less personal when the technology was used (87.2%).

Rather than focusing on the patient experience, the authors argue that perceptions of care involving EHR use demonstrate the need for organizations to address increasing rates of clinician stress and burnout related to patient data documentation.

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