About a third of doctors are using electronic health records or EHRs. That’s double the number since 2008, says a report in the journal Health Affairs. What we are seeing is an increase of a lot more computers, smartphones and iPads making their way into patient’s exam rooms. But as doctors move more and more toward electronic recording keeping,they face one daunting challenge: How to bring electronic devises into the exam room without losing the human connection with their patients.

EHRs are considered the future of health care for good reason — they can help prevent medical errors.

The promise of these devices to augment the delivery of clinical care is tremendous,says Stanford’s Dr. Clarence Braddock.

Dr. Braddock uses a secure app on his iPad to pull up patient charts if he’s called after hours,no matter where he is. However,doctors must now be aware of their online etiquette and not let the gadgets become a challenge in the intimate exam room. If the doctor spends too much of your 15-minute visit typing or staring at a screen, you have to wonder: What if I have a symptom that just got missed? Is my Doctor even listening to me? I for one have these very notions when I’m sitting, exposed, in my gown, while my doctor or doctor’s assitant seems more interested in entering data into the computer than acutally talking to me about my problem.

Do gadgets have a place in the exam room or do you think they are a distraction?