Computers May be Doing More Harm than Good During Your Trip to the Doctor's Office

SKIN: The Journal of Cutaneous Medicine®,
Dermatologists’ Perceptions and Use of Electronic Health Record Systems

Over 50% of dermatologists felt that electronic health records detracted from the face-to-face time that they had with their patients.”

— Alex M. Glazer, MD

TUCSON, AZ, USA, September 15, 2020 / — If you’ve been in a doctor’s office in the past several decades, you may have noticed a doctor, scribe, nurse, or other healthcare worker furiously entering data into a computer as you describe your headache, bowel habits or other medical concerns. The electronic health record was once touted as being a revolution in medicine, said to streamline office visits, reduce paperwork, and ultimately improve patient care. However, electronic health records may have missed the mark according to at least one recently published study in SKIN: The Journal of Cutaneous Medicine®.

In a survey study conducted by Alex M. Glazer, MD and colleague, 400 dermatologists were asked about their opinion on the electronic health record, how it affected their perception of medical practice and ultimately, how it affected their ability to care for their patients. Nearly 90% of respondents used a form of electronic health record as part of patient care. The approximately 10% who had not yet implemented an electronic health record felt that the financial penalties for not having such a system did not outweigh the potential that it would detract from their relationship with their patients.

Although nearly 57% of dermatologists noted the electronic health record likely improved gathering and saving the required information for each patient encounter, they felt it came at the expense of other crucial factors. A majority of dermatologists reported they felt using electronic health records detracted from their interaction with their patient with nearly 75% reported feeling it negatively impacted their workflow and over 50% reporting it negatively impacted their face-to-face time with their patients.

The authors note that current electronic health records lack user-friendly interfaces. The design of these systems may have improved and facilitated paperwork associated with every patient visit, but this may have come at the cost of building the strong, fundamental relationship between doctor and patient. Until these systems are improved, the best the medical profession can do is try to streamline clicking all those tiny boxes and minimizing the time in front of a computer screen so that time with the patient can be maximized, ensuring a much better experience for the patient.

SKIN: The Journal of Cutaneous Medicine® is a peer-reviewed online medical journal that is the official journal of The National Society for Cutaneous Medicine. The mission of SKIN is to provide an enhanced and accelerated route to disseminate new dermatologic knowledge for all aspects of cutaneous disease.

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(DOI: 10.25251/skin.4.5.2)

Alex M. Glazer, MD
University of Arizona College of Medicine
+1 520-626-6349
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Source: EIN Presswire