Study: Physicians' Skills May Take a Hit from EMRs, Clinical Guidelines

Primary care physicians may experience deskilling as a result of electronic medical records and clinical guidelines, according to a study published in Health Care Management Review.

Researchers interviewed 78 U.S. primary care physicians about EMRs and clinical guidelines and analyzed their responses. They found that PCPs' perceptions and experiences of EMRs and clinical guidelines indicated deskilling. Possible deskilling outcomes include decreased clinical knowledge, patient trust and confidence in making clinical decisions and increased stereotyping of patients.

For example, many physicians who were interviewed noted the common practice of copying patient visit notes to several medical records in the EMR for patients with similar issues, which may impede physicians' ability or desire to make more accurate notes with something unique for each patient.

The authors suggested healthcare organizations and managers create a context where physicians can implement innovations without experiencing deskilling.

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