I have written recent articles about EHRs and the reluctance of some physicians to adopt them and to recognize a positive impact in their patient interaction. One area of change and potential patient impact is the method of physicians recording notes on tablets or mobile devices during patient exams. Some physicians feel that using tablets during exams could disrupt the overall patient experience.

Recently Software Advice, a software consulting company, surveyed a random sample of 4500 people on their thoughts of EHRs during a medical exam. Interestingly, they found that 80% of their sample said they would not be bothered by the use of EHRs in the exam room.

The survey also asked what would create a negative patient experience and results showed that long wait time, unfriendly staff, and a short visit duration were the main factors for 84% of surveyed. However, the use of computers by a physician was only a concern for 5% of individuals.

If the physician does enter information into the EHR during the patient visit, it is important to make sure that the patient and physician are both listening as it could potentially be disruptive. One way to avoid disrupting the patient-physician interaction is for the physician to document a few notes while the patient is in the exam room, and then document the visit more fully after the visit is over. Of course, making the patient the central focus of the visit leads to better patient satisfaction.

Finally, on the positive side of EHRs, patients are generally happy with ePrescribing and that their doctor has all of their lab results and tests right in front of them in the EHR during their visit. This saves a good amount of time for both physician and patient. Another benefit to having the EHR in the exam room is it allows the doctor to quickly review with the patient what happened during their last visit, bringing both the doctor and the patient up to date so they can move forward.