Study: Eye contact suffers with technology

December 4, 2009

Survey shows British PCPs feel they spend more time looking at computer screens in the exam room than they do with their patients.

Almost 40 percent of British primary care physicians feel they spend more time looking at computer screens in the exam room instead of their patient, according to an October survey published in a British medical newspaper.

Pulse newspaper surveyed 602 primary care physicians. Despite Britain's single-payer National Health Service, the survey showed the country's doctors feel the same frustrations with bureaucracy, rushed appointments and quality benchmarks as their U.S. counterparts.

More than half of British doctors surveyed say paperwork and data entry consumes 20 to 40 percent of the time during each patient visit, and 38 percent believe they don't make enough patient eye contact. The Commonwealth Fund reported 96 percent of primary care doctors in the United Kingdom use an electronic health record, compared to 46 percent of U.S. doctors.