Electronic Medical Records and Communication with Patients and Other Clinicians: Are We Talking Less? – Center for Studying Health System Change – 7 April 2010

Posted on April 9, 2010. Filed under: Health Informatics, Medical Records |

Electronic Medical Records and Communication with Patients and Other Clinicians: Are We Talking Less? – Center for Studying Health System Change – 7 April 2010
Issue Brief No. 131
Ann S. O’Malley, Genna R. Cohen, Joy M. Grossman

Media Release

“Commercial electronic medical records (EMRs) both help and hinder physician interpersonal communication—real-time, face-to-face or phone conversations—with patients and other clinicians, according to a new Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) study based on in-depth interviews with clinicians in 26 physician practices. EMRs assist real-time communication with patients during office visits, primarily through immediate access to patient information, allowing clinicians to talk with patients rather than search for information from paper records. For some clinicians, however, aspects of EMRs pose a distraction during visits. Moreover, some indicated that clinicians may rely on EMRs for information gathering and transfer at the expense of real-time communication with patients and other clinicians. Given time pressures already present in many physician practices, EMR and office-workflow modifications could help ensure that EMRs advance care without compromising interpersonal communication. In particular, policies promoting EMR adoption should consider incorporating communication-skills training for medical trainees and clinicians using EMRs.”

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