Electronic health records - bad idea?

A recent article in Psychology Today states that "We're losing a
critically effective part of medical care."

These days, it often seems like doctors don't see their patients as
people, but as a series of medical issues. They do care, and try to
help, but they focus on tests and numbers instead of on connecting
with the patient; they'll spend hours looking at data on a monitor
while the patient is alone in his room.

People would rather have a normal conversation than listen to the
doctor's medical jargon. Empathy does a lot to make someone feel
better when they're sick; it would be good if doctors remembered this,
and spent a little time connecting with their patients as people.

"Studies over the last 60 years have shown over and over that the
doctor-patient relationship is a major part of the "Placebo factor"
that gets patients well. The power of that relationship applies to all
medical personnel, nurses and PAs and therapists. It may represent
30-40% of the general therapeutic response."

Unfortunately, things may get worse in the future, with the coming of
the EHR, or electronic health record. The plan is to "wire up" all
medical practices in the US by 2014.

The idea behinds the EHR is to make it easy to quickly share medical
information around the globe. That sounds good, but in reality, it
will probably eat up much of doctors' time, which means even less time
spent with patients.

For an EHR to be effective, the systems in every medical office and
hospital have to be able to communicate seamlessly, which is most
often not the case. When the different systems can't communicate, it
ends up costing valuable time.

Data is very helpful, but we shouldn't lose sight of the human factor.
I think it's important to remember the therapeutic effectiveness of
the doctor-patient relationship, and preserve that relationship. With
it, everyone benefits.

Source: "The Doctor Is a Drug" psychologytoday.com. 24 March 2011.