Improving Patient-Provider Communication and Therapeutic Practice Through Better Integration of Electronic Health Records in the Exam Room: A Pilot Study
BACKGROUND: The rapid proliferation of electronic health records (EHRs) in clinics has had mixed impact on patient-centered communication, yet few evaluated interventions exist to train practicing providers in communication practices. AIMS: We extended the evidence-based Physician Asthma Care Education (PACE) program with EHR-specific communication strategies, and tested whether training providers with the extended program (EHR-PACE) would improve provider and patient perceptions of provider communication skills and asthma outcomes of patients.
METHOD: A pilot randomized design was used to compare EHR-PACE with usual care. Participants were providers ( n = 18) and their adult patients with persistent asthma ( n = 126). Outcomes were assessed at baseline and 3- and 6-month postintervention, including patient perception of their provider’s communication skills and provider confidence in using EHRs during clinical encounters.
RESULTS: Compared with the control group, providers who completed the EHR-PACE program reported significant improvements at 3-month follow-up in their confidence with asthma counseling practices (estimate 0.90, standard error [ SE] 0.4); p < .05) and EHR-specific communication practices (estimate 2.3, SE 0.8; p < .01), and at 6-month follow-up, a significant decrease in perception that the computer interferes with the patient-provider relationship (estimate -1.0, SE 0.3; p < .01). No significant changes were observed in patient asthma outcomes or their perception of their provider’s communication skills.
DISCUSSION: Training providers with skills to accommodate EHR use in the exam room increases provider confidence and their perceived skills in maintaining patient-centered communications in the short term.
CONCLUSION: Evidence-supported training initiatives that can increase capacity of busy providers to manage increased computing demands shows promise. More research is needed to fully evaluate EHR-PACE on patients’ health status and their perceptions of their provider’s care through a large-scale trial.
Patel, M. R., Smith, A., Leo, H., Hao, W., & Zheng, K. (2018). Improving Patient-Provider Communication and Therapeutic Practice Through Better Integration of Electronic Health Records in the Exam Room: A Pilot Study. Health Educ Behav, 1090198118796879. doi:10.1177/1090198118796879