25 Jan Is Your Doctor Getting Too Much Screen Time?
Editor’s note: The following excerpt is from an article published in The Wall Street Journal on December 14, 2015.
You may have noticed it isn’t just you and the doctor in the exam room anymore.
Computers, laptops and tablets are increasingly occupying your physician’s attention as more medical practices record their patients’ data electronically rather than on paper. This has changed the dynamics between some doctors and patients and created new communication challenges, research shows.
A study in JAMA Internal Medicine in November found that patients rated the care they received lower when doctors looked at a computer screen a lot during patient examinations. And researchers at Northwestern University discovered that doctors using electronic health records spent about a third of patient visits looking at a screen. The study, which analyzed eye-gaze patterns in videotapes of about 100 patient visits, was published last year in the International Journal of Medical Informatics. Medical informatics applies information technology to the field of health care.
Some health-care systems offer workshops to teach doctors techniques for maintaining rapport with patients while entering data in electronic health records. One tip: Use the screen to educate patients about their health, for example, by showing a graph marking changes in blood pressure over time.