Technology

New technologies, including electronic health records (EHRs) and handheld computers such as personal digital assistants (PDAs), have greatly improved data access. However, these same innovations may create barriers to meaningful interaction (Ventres et al., 2005).

Barriers

• Data (i.e., EHR) retrieval from a device requires loss of eye contact with the patient.

• Data entry into a device requires time and may be a distraction.

Bridges

• Always inform new patients what you are doing when viewing a computer screen. This assures the patient that you are actively retrieving information for the issues at hand.

• Try to maintain eye contact while viewing a paper chart or a computer device.

• Read back data, such as history, examination notes, and prescriptions, to the patient to summarize the visit and ensure accuracy.

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