The influence of electronic medical record usage on nonverbal communication in the medical interview

M. John McGrath, H. Nedal Arar, A. Jacqueline Pugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined nonverbal communication in relation to electronic medical record (EMR) use during the medical interview. Six physicians were videotaped during their consultations with 50 different patients at a single setting Veterans Administration Hospital. Three different office spatial designs were identified and named 'open,' 'closed' and 'blocked'. The 'open' arrangement put physicians in a position to establish better eye contact and physical orientation than did the alternative 'closed' and 'blocked' office configurations. Physicians who accessed the EMR and took 'breakpoints' (short periods of no computer use and sustained eye contact with patients) used more nonverbal cues than physicians who tended to talk with their patients while continuously working on the computer. Long pauses in conversational turn taking associated with EMR use may have positively influenced doctor-patient communication. High EMR use interviews were associated with patients asking more questions than they did in low EMR use interviews. Implications for medical education and future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-117
Number of pages13
JournalHealth Informatics Journal
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2007

Keywords

  • Electronic medical record (EMR)
  • Nonverbal communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics

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