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John Martinez

Physician EHR as a Detriment to Patient Experience?

September 20, 2022

Clinician, EHR 3 Minute Read

The use of electronic health records (EHRs) means that physician EHR use during patient encounters is more prevalent than ever, especially given the push the past several years to shift all medical documentation from paper to electronic format.

Contrasting Patient and Provider Experiences

How has physician EHR use impacted provider and patient experiences? It turns out that the views of patients and providers stand in stark contrast.

A recent study from The Annals of Family Medicine found that physicians and physician assistants (PAs) have overall negative perceptions of how EHR use impacts patient visits, while patients have more positive perceptions. More than 90 percent of patients thought EHR use was positive while only 37.2 percent of providers felt similarly. Patients had much more positive perceptions of provider eye contact, how well providers listened to and focused on them, and how personal the visits felt.

Why is this important?

A patient-provider relationship includes four main facets: mutual knowledge, mutual trust, loyalty, and regard. Communication is an essential asset to each of these facets in the relationship. Effective communication can improve both patient and provider satisfaction, decrease complaints, reduce negligence claims, boost patient compliance, and improve patient outcomes.

The rise in administrative duties such as physician EHR use can lessen the amount of time focused directly on patient care , which can negatively impact communication by preventing providers from recognizing and understanding patient cues. Additionally, the burden of administrative tasks is linked to an increase in medical errors and other safety concerns, job attrition, and emotional despair on the part of providers.

Alternative Solutions for Patient Experience

So, how can providers effectively document encounters while maintaining effective communication and achieving matching perceptions of the patient experience? Here are a few ideas:

  • Utilize EHR voice dictation to promote a better physician-patient alliance and allow providers to make more deliberate eye contact and observe patient cues.
  • Create built-in documentation time within the day, allowing providers to focus on direct patient care and generate more accurate perceptions of their experiences.
  • Improve the user interface of EHR systems to facilitate navigation.
  • Utilize scribes to reduce the administrative burden of documentation for providers.

As mentioned above, patients and providers have mismatched perceptions of patient experiences when EHRs are used during their encounters. Providers hold more negative views of patient perceptions than do the patients themselves. Generating more closely matched perceptions can allow patients and providers to be on the same page and facilitate improved communication.

There are a multitude of options available for improving EHR documentation to enable a better patient-provider alliance depending on the practice setting and provider preferences. With so many options, ChartLogic can help you determine the best route to making these improvements. Find out why we’re named one of the best EHRs in Software Advice’s 2019 Front Runners Report two years in a row! Contact us today.

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