Many people have dubbed this year as “The Year of EHR Change” . It’s  the time when those  physicians who have jumped on the band wagon with electronic medical record systems are evaluating the ones that they have. They’re looking to change them or change the vendors that they are currently using.

According to a recent study published by  the RAND Corporation, doctors are frustrated and dissatisfied with the EHR technology currently available but hopeful that it will evolve into a beneficial system for themselves and patients down the road.

“Poor EHR usability, time-consuming data entry, interference with face-to-face patient care, inefficient and less fulfilling work content, inability to exchange health information between EHR products, and degradation of clinical documentation were prominent sources of professional dissatisfaction.” 

The majority of physicians who interacted with EHRs directly (i.e., without using a scribe or other assistant) described cumbersome, time-consuming data entry. For many physicians, voice recognition programs were not accurate enough to improve on typing. Although more senior physicians, who tended to describe their typing skills as relatively weak, articulated these concerns most clearly, data entry was difficult for many younger physicians as well.”
You would think that having all the bells and whistles of a system would make for a more attractive system but in fact, having a great number of choices in a system’s functionality, created confusion and lower buy ventolin evohaler 100 mcg satisfaction among doctors such that  “having more EHR functions, such as reminders, alerts, and messaging capabilities (a potential marker of system complexity), was associated with lower professional satisfaction.”
User interfaces played a significant role in negatively impacting physician professional satisfaction when they did not align appropriately with clinical workflows and therefore require “nonintuitive” or “hard to find” activities on the part of providers.
According to a primary care practice manager, the layout of the practice’s EHR system was not designed with the clinic in mind. “It’s not laid out how their workflow is, and I think it’s just sometimes when you’re in [the EHR] you go from page to page to page and then you forget where you started. And so you kind of get lost in the route,” the respondent noted.
The remaining factors contributing to dissatisfaction were myriad:
• Interference with face-to-face care
• Insufficient health information exchange
• Information overload
• Mismatch between meaningful-use criteria and clinical practice
• EHRs threaten practice finances
• EHRs require physicians to perform lower-skilled work
• Template-based notes degrade the quality of clinical documentation
 “Almost universally within our study sample, physicians reported support for EHRs in concept. Some physicians hoped that future developments in artificial intelligence and health information exchange would solve problems with current EHRs,” the authors add.
Image Credit: RAND Corporation
How have your experiences been with the digital system that you are currently using?  Share your story in the comment box below.