Does computer use in patient-physician encounters influence patient satisfaction? -- Lelievre and Schultz 56 (1): e6 -- Canadian Family Physician: "It was hoped that the introduction of computers and electronic health records into medical practice would revolutionize medicine, improving quality of care and patient satisfaction. Electronic health records do bring with them many benefits, including easy access to legible notes, prescription-writing systems, drug interaction systems, and, in some cases, laboratory and imaging information. Other demonstrated benefits include greater adherence to preventive care guidelines and a decrease in the cost of care in the long-term. However, apart from the obstacle of the initial investment (it is estimated that it would cost a total of $18.7 billion to create an appropriate Canada-wide electronic health record system), physicians have numerous concerns regarding electronic health records. These include security, time-effectiveness, loss of eye contact, and negative effects on patient-physician relationships."
Many doctors ( esepcially the older generation who is not adept at using computers) will roll out many excuses as to why they don't need computers to practise good clinical medicine. In fact, some of them claim the computers will harm the doctor-patient relationship as the doctor will spend more time with the PC than with the patient. This study is very reassuring - and shows that patients actually prefer doctors to use an EMR. It gives patients confidence that the doctor is well organised; and that their medical records are well documented and safely stored !
Two suggestions I give young new doctors who are just starting practise are :
1. make sure they have a website; and
2. use an EMR.
This will be their USP and will help them to stand out from their seniors and the rest of the competition !