EHR use during patient visit may mean missed non-verbal cues

February 5, 2014

EHR use during patient visit may mean missed non-verbal cues
(HealthDay)—Patterns of eye gaze change with the use of electronic health records (EHRs), and this influences physician-patient interaction, according to research published in the March issue of the International Journal of Medical Informatics.

Enid Montague, Ph.D., of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and Onur Asan, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, observed and examined video recordings of 100 patient visits in a primary care clinic to assess eye gaze patterns between patients and physicians when EHRs were being used.

The researchers found several eye gaze patterns that were significantly dependent to each other. All gaze patterns initiated by doctors were followed by gaze patterns in patients. This study also showed that some gaze patterns initiated by were followed by gaze patterns in doctors, which was significantly unlike the findings in previous studies. Use of EHRs appears to contribute to new gaze patterns that differ from those observed in studies involving use of paper charts.

"EHRs affect physician-patient patterns differently than paper chart visits," the authors conclude. "These findings illustrate the importance of designing work systems that allow and encourage physicians to be patient centered."

Explore further: Do doctors spend too much time looking at computer screen?

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