Study: EHRs Linked to Less Physician Eye Contact With Patients

A study has found physicians spend about a third of their visits with patients looking at a computer screen, according to a United Press International report.

Researchers from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., video recorded 100 physician-patient visits in which physicians used computers to access electronic health records. Researchers analyzed physicians' eye-gaze patterns, finding them to differ during visits with EHRs versus paper charts.

"Not only does the doctor spend less time looking at the patient, the patient also almost always looks at the computer screen, whether or not the patient can see or understand what is on the screen," study author Enid Montague, PhD, said in the report.

Dr. Montague said it's likely that physicians' ability to listen, problem-solve and think creatively is not optimal when their eyes are "glued to the screen."

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