Doctors still skeptical of electronic records, says survey

Newswire: July 27, 2017.

Dateline: San Francisco.

Doctors remain skeptical and mistrustful of electronic records, with 69 percent saying in a survey that the use of electronic health records (EHR) separates them from their patients and their understanding of their conditions and medical histories.

The survey result was cited this week at a conference in San Francisco, sponsored by Medscape, which is an online resource for physicians owned by WebMD. EHR, pushed by the U.S. government especially thanks to a 2009 law, are increasingly blamed by physicians for the 12 million diagnosis errors made by health professionals every year.

Abraham Verghese, M.D., a Stanford physician who is vice chairman for theory and practice of medicine, said electronic health records greatly assisted with billing and reducing medical errors, and keeping physicians from time consuming searches for patient records. However, he lamented EHRs keeping doctors rooted to a computer at their desk, and said they made physical examinations less personal and less informational to both physician and patient.

Verghese is not an electronic records luddite, however. He noted positive change brought about by their inclusion. “Patients can send me a note whenever they want, and within a day, I’ll get back to them.” Patient satisfaction also has improved in part because of the influence of electronic records.

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