AMA adopts policy to improve EHR-patient relations

The American Medical Association's House of Delegates has approved a policy to help physicians interact with their patients while using their electronic health records.

The policy, approved during the AMA's annual meeting in June, asks the association to provide physicians with resources so that they can effectively use their EHRs in physician/patient interactions, and encourages physicians to ask patients about EHRs in their patient satisfaction surveys.

"Our board report looked at the effect of electronic health records on interactions between patients and physicians and found that the perspective and skills physicians bring to using computers determines whether the response to their introduction in the exam room will be positive or negative," said then-AMA Board Chair Steven Stack, M.D in a statement. "We look forward to gathering more information to help physicians best incorporate this new technology into their interactions with patients."

The AMA has provided other resources to its members to help them adopt and successfully implement EHRs, including comparisons of different EHR models, top questions to ask EHR vendors and implementation advice.

The delegates also voted to ask the AMA to encourage greater EHR interoperability and standardization of EHR software, according to an article in American Medical News.

Other studies have shown that EHRs can have mixed results in patient perception and satisfaction. For instance, EHRs can engage patients and encourage dialogue by allowing the patient to view the computer screen and chart. However, physicians who seem to focus more on the computer than on the patient use less eye contact and interact less than they used to with paper records and often are seen more negatively; they may even be seen as less competent.    

To learn more:
- here's the announcement
- read the amednews article