'Meaningful use' for EHRs coming next year

Electronic health records (EHRs) are poised to get a boost from the federal government's “meaningful use” incentive program next year, begging the question: can these tools increase engagement between physician and patient?
Research firm Verilogue and Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals explored EHRs' potential to improve in-office dialogue. During a session at the Pharmaceutical Marketing Research Group (PMRG) Institute fall meeting, Verilogue showed attendees videos comparing physician-patient interaction with and without EHRs.
“The quality of the interaction between the physician and patient appeared to be enhanced when the doctor had the patient's medical records immediately at hand via computer,” said co-presenter Juliana Mastroserio, senior market research manager, internal medicine, Ortho-McNeil-Janssen. “The physician was able to pull up information quickly and engaged the patient by sharing information related to her current condition.”
Verilogue president Jeff Kozloff compared it to the difference between a rep detailing a doctor with a printed visual aid vs. a tablet PC. Doctors need training in how to make best use of the computer to support, not supplant, communication. “This is a great opportunity for [industry] to close the gap in the physician-patient dynamic,” Kozloff said. “Without the right training and industry content, the gap could widen.”
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