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Health Educ Behav. 2019 Jun;46(3):484-493. doi: 10.1177/1090198118796879. Epub 2018 Sep 8.

Improving Patient-Provider Communication and Therapeutic Practice Through Better Integration of Electronic Health Records in the Exam Room: A Pilot Study.

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1 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
2 University of California Irvine, CA, USA.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


asthma management; electronic health records; patient–provider communication; provider education

[Available on 2020-06-01]

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