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User unfriendly EHR's, studies reporting negative communication behaviors like typing during sensitive discussions? No wonder the computer is viewed as an obtrusive third party! Despite this, most studies find patients report no change in overall satisfaction, communication or the patient-doctor relationship.

While some may think this is good, it’s a missed opportunity.

Few studies use the EHR as a communication enhancing tool, but they hold promise to enrich interactions. We need creative engaging patient-centered EHRs; features like patient headshots, portals, dashboards, allowing patients to comment on their notes.

But the future EHR is not just a redesign, it’s our use of it. We need training how to use EHRs effectively. We’ve published our mnemonic (HUMAN LEVEL) & curriculum on MedEdPORTAL to highlight best practices of patient-centered EHR use.

It's time to embrace the EHR potential to foster humanistic patient-doctor-EHR interactions in the digital age.