Dr. David Blumenthal was the national coordinator for promoting electronic health records (EHR) from 2009 to 2011. In addition to the upfront economic challenges surrounding EHR adoption, he emphasizes that ergonomics has also been a bottleneck (James Fallows, “The Paper Cure” The Atlantic, April 2014, pp. 26–28):
“Most physicians’ offices, and I’ve been in a lot of them, are set up so that when the physician looks at the screen, he or she can’t look at the patient. Often they have their back to the patient. That is because no one has given a lot of thought to how to maximize the ergonomic quality of inserting this technology into the office.” (p. 28)
The customer experience falls on a continuum. Exactly where it falls is based on design. When the ergonomics of a new technology are not adequately accommodated, then the customer experience will suffer. This represents a barrier to universal EHR adoption.
When a patient visits a healthcare provider, that patient usually has many serious concerns. Examination-room ergonomics should not be one of them.