How Not to Use Technology in the Exam Room Image


April 2016

Electronic Medical Record systems and other technology may impact patient satisfaction if used incorrectly without explanation.


A recent study suggests that computers can be a boon to managing patient care, but they can also become a bone of contention between the patient and the physician. Medical schools are beginning to instruct students on the proper use of an EMR and other technology in the examination room.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine offers EMR training and instruction on best practices. The wrong way to use the technology is for the doctor to have his face planted in front of the computer with his or her back to the patient throughout an appointment.

I found this educational video on YouTube, created by Steven Davis, DO, that shows what not to do.

The idea is to keep the focus on the patient, not the computer. Richard Frankel, PhD, wrote the commentary, “Computers in the Examination Room” for JAMA Internal Medicine. He is a professor of medicine at Indiana State University School of Medicine, would like to see physicians adopt a protocol he developed called POISED – Prepare, Orient, Information-gathering, Share, Educate and Debrief. Doctors “prepare” by reviewing the patient’s records in the EMR before seeing the patient. They help “orient” the patient by explaining how they will use the computer during the appointments. After some “information gathering” from the patients, doctors “share” with them what is on the screen. The computer data can be used to “educate” patients and may frequently lead to discussions about good health. The “debriefing” part means that doctors find out what and how well patients understood the information.

We’re never going to eliminate technology, but we can limit its intrusion.

About the Author
Roger Downey is currently the Communications Manager for GlobalMed, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based telemedicine design, manufacturing and marketing firm. He is a broadcast news veteran, having worked as a News Anchor/Reporter for KPHO-TV, the CBS affiliate in Phoenix, for 25 years. In 2004, he became the Media Relations Officer for the Arizona Medical Board, the regulatory agency for MDs in the state. In the spring of 2010 he transitioned to his current position. Roger is a Board Member of the Arizona Partnership Implementing Patient Safety (APIPS), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization composed of physicians, nurses, hospital and government agency representatives, pharmacists, and insurance carriers. He is also a member of the American Telemedicine Association Pediatric Special Interest Group. He is a member of the Silver Circle of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for his 25 years in television.


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