The EMR and the Doctor-Patient Relationship

Today I was included on what I’d consider a tweetstorm about the EMR and they ways it can impede the Doctor-Patient relationship. I thought many of you would find his comments interesting and might want to add to and extend his comments.

Those are some strong opinions? While I’d love to visit his office, I don’t really need to visit it. I’ve seen many doctors not use the computer in the exam room so they could focus on the patient. In fact, I’ve seen the whole spectrum of computer use in the exam room from a lot to none. My conclusion is similar to the one that Amy Hamilton described here. The setup can really impact the experience of the patient.

I do agree with Dr. Ashinsky that many doctors are spending too much time on the data/computer and not enough time on the patient. That doesn’t mean that the data isn’t important, but many have taken it too far.

What do you think? Does the computer get in the way of he doctor-patient relationship?

Eric Topol tweeted one suggestion:

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • As I see it, the current problem is that the clinician is being coerced into using a computer interface to an EHR that is not designed to be used as a clinical tool. The result is that both the patient and the clinician resent the distraction.

    Instead, I would suggest designing the EHR (and the interface) to be used as a collaborative tool by both the patient and the clinician to collect, store, integrate, present medical information, make smart suggestions, and let them document their discussions and plans. When it is a tool that is being used collaboratively, much of the resentment vanishes.

    Each individual patient or clinician cannot redesign the EHR tonight, but each can – tomorrow – insist on working together on what goes into the EHR and how it is used. Sit next to each other and work together and make sure everything in the EHR is fully accessible to both parties.

  • Thanks for your comments Peter. What’s interesting is that what you describe could be done with any EHR.

    Sounds like you’ve been talking to Jimmie ( or that you would like to talk with him. His #ProjectedEHR (which is basically what you describe) has changed how he practices medicine.

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