Conceptualizing self and others when using eHealth

I wonder if using eHealth has any affect on how health care providers perceptions on their role(s) and/or the patient-provider relationship. What about for patients? Health/health care has essentially been a face-to-face interaction for essentially hundreds (if not thousands) of years. Now, we’re introducing technologies directly into the heart of what is a very intimate and personal interaction.

Anecdotally, I have heard physicians raise concerns about using a computer (i.e., desktop, laptop, tablet PC, handheld) during the patient encounter because of a perceived “barrier” between themselves and the patient. I’ve also heard one physician mention that it takes more effort to get a “picture” of the patient when reviewing a patient’s chart in an electronic format versus using the paper version.

If (and this is a big if) there is some impact on cognitive processes, then we should investigate these issues. Andre Kushniruk and associates have found cognitive changes occur when recording information on paper versus a structured electronic “chart”. So, we know that when we use technology, there are changes that occur in how we store, organize, and even perceive information. Does this phenomenon extend to things like relationships and even people? Maybe there’s opportunity to do research on some of these issues.