What Patients Really Think About Using Your EHR in the Exam Room?

As we have touched on before, a very real concern amongst physicians in any practice utilizing electronic health record (EHR) systems is that they may be damaging or limiting patient interaction. Because of this, the overall patient experience suffers drastically. This thought process tends to make physicians hesitant about the use of EHRs in the exam rooms, in order to keep the patient experience intact.

Before we go on assuming that when patients see their doctors use electronic devices during their appointments, they are automatically thrown off, let’s take a look at a survey done by The Profitable Practice. They surveyed a random sample of 4,500 U.S. patients to find out how they felt about doctors using EHRs during the point of care.

Here’s a rundown of what they learned:

  1. Most Patients Don’t Mind Electronic Note-Taking During Exams

The survey asked patients three separate questions, pertaining to whether it would bother them for their doctor to type on a desktop computer, laptop computer or on a tablet during an office exam.

For all three cases, the results were overwhelmingly no. For each option, more than 80 percent of survey takers said they would not be bothered. Patients that were surveyed were least bothered with their doctors using tablets, most likely because they are the least obtrusive.

  1. Patients Showed More Concern Over Scribes Typing Notes

In many cases, if doctors have concerns over using an EHR system in exam rooms, they may bring in an assistant to take care of notes or transcribing items into an electronic chart, while the they interact with the patient.

Results from the Profitable Practice study showed that around two-thirds were still not bothered about this technique, however, they were certainly more bothersome when compared to the doctor him/herself taking the notes down on an electronic device.

  1. Patients Show the Most Concern Over Audio Recordings

Have you ever recorded your medical notes during an exam, and then transcribed them after? Well that may not be a practice you want to make a habit of.

According to the study, about 60 percent of patients did indicate that they wouldn’t be bothered by audio recording in the exam room. However, over one-third of patients said they would have some level of uneasiness if their doctor used a tape recorder to assist in charting their medical notes.

  1. Patients Prefer EHRs Over Paper During Exams

Since previous results of this study were able to conclude that patients do not mind their doctors using EHRs during exams, now it is important to find out if they actually prefer their doctors to use EHRs during exams over paper.

The results may not surprise you. Over half of patients had no preference at all. However, if you eliminate those who didn’t have a preference, almost 73 percent strongly preferred, or somewhat preferred, their doctors using an electronic system (EHRs).

From these survey results, it is quite easy to come to the conclusion that patients do not mind, or at least do not have any strong opinions towards, EHRs in the exam room.

As mentioned, we have often found this to be a worry in a lot of practices. Especially within family practices that pride themselves on their customer interaction. In this day in age, it is hard to continue to move forward and stick out without some sort of new technology assisting along the way. Companies amongst all industries must learn to survive and adapt to changes that surround them.

If you are ready to jump the hurdle and embrace EHR technology, please contact American Medical Software today. One of our dedicated, knowledgeable sales representatives will be happy to get your practice on its way to increasing profitably and efficiency by using the best medical office software.

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