Background and objectives: Previous research has examined patients' attitudes toward use of exam room computers by physicians. Our objective was to determine patient attitudes toward physicians' exam room use of new tablet computers.
Methods: A random sample of 96 patients was interviewed immediately following a visit to a physician at an outpatient family medicine clinic at a large academic medical center in central Virginia. We excluded visits to first-year residents. Patients were asked about their attitudes toward technology use in the exam room using a previously validated 16-item structured questionnaire on patient attitudes toward technology use in the exam room.
Results: The response rate was 97%. Survey results showed mostly positive patient perceptions of the tablets regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, and income. There were differences in attitudes toward privacy (by race and education), use of tablets by the physician (by education and age), depersonalization of the office visit (by race), and speed of medical files overview (by age).
Conclusions: The use of tablet computers by physicians in the examining room is perceived positively by most patients.