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Ethnically Diverse Patients’ Perceptions of Clinician Computer Use in a Safety-net Clinic


Electronic health record (EHR) implementation may affect patient-clinician communication for diverse safety-net populations. We conducted a cross-sectional survey of English-, Spanish-, and Cantonese-speaking patients in a public hospital clinic with a basic EHR. We examined multivariate associations of patient race/ethnicity, language, and education with perceptions of primary-care provider (PCP) computer use. Among 399 respondents, 25% had less than a high school education, 22% preferred Spanish, and 17% Cantonese. Asian (AOR 3.1), non-English-speakers (AOR 3.6) were more likely to report that PCPs used the computer half or more of the visit. Asians were more likely to report that computers helped PCPs remember patient concerns (AOR 5.6). Non-English-speakers had lower odds of reporting that PCPs listened less carefully to them because of computers (AOR 0.3). Patients at risk for communication barriers may perceive advantages of PCP computer use. Safety-net clinics should consider EHR impact on communication disparities.

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