Results from the most recent   Medical Economics survey  along with the  marketing and research firm MPI Group (November-December 2013)  found that almost 50% of doctors feel that EHRs are making patient care worse.  Opinions from  nearly 1000 doctors practices, of which  6% were office managers responding for the doctor and 2% were nurses or nurse practitioners, all felt that there was a loss in productivity which corresponds directly with the care of patients.  Additional frustration rises from the costs linked to hire more staff for compliance with medical systems which is not sufficiently covered by the Meaningful Use incentives.

Usability and ability to interface with other EHR systems continues to be a huge obstacle as reported by the NY Times, USA Today and the Rand Corp in its findings last month.

According to one respondent,

“We used to see 32 patients a day with one tech, and now we struggle to see 24 patients a day with four techs. And we provide worse care.”

Key Results of Survey
  • 73% of the largest practices would not purchase their current EHR system. The data show that 66% of internal medicine specialists would not purchase their current system. About 60% of respondents in family medicine would also make another EHR choice.
  • 67% of physicians dislike the functionality of their EHR systems.
  • Nearly half of physicians believe the cost of these systems is too high.
  • 45% of respondents say patient care is worse since implementing an EHR. Nearly 23% of internists say patient care is significantly worse.
  • 65% of respondents say their EHR systems result in financial losses for the practice. About 43% of internists and other specialists/subspecialists outside of primary care characterized the losses as significant.
  • About 69% of respondents said that coordination of care with hospitals has not improved.
  • Nearly 38% of respondents doubt their system will be viable in five years.
  • 74% of respondents believe their vendors will be in business over the next 5 years.

A blog post by Brian Ahier, an HIT expert voices the pain points in his blog:

“There is no doubt in my mind that the smart use of health IT will improve care and lower costs, and I am not all surprised at some of the pain points that surface in this survey. Important things that are worth doing are rarely easy to accomplish. Our entire health system is undergoing a radical transformation, and the IT infrastructure to support this is barely in place. Physician satisfaction will be a key linchpin in the success of this transformation, and my hope is that we can truly look out for the little guy and avoid the creation of a healthcare digital divide between large health systems and physicians practices, especially those practicing in rural and underserved communities.”

Hopefully our care won’t suffer in the process of striving toward progress!

Looking for information on how to negotiate with EHR vendors and what to look for in your contract?  Go to and get:

“EMR Guide: Choosing without Losing .  How to Choose the Best Medical Record System for Your Practice”