The Smart Medical Practice

Docs: EHRs Make Us Frown


EHRUniversal implementation of electronic health records does not mean they are viewed favorably by those who use them, particularly physicians. According to RAND health reports, doctors’ perspectives of EHRs remain mixed even though they have been widely adopted. Although the overall concept of is viewed as good, EHRs have “significantly worsened” many physicians’ satisfaction with the professional operation of their practice, according to the study.

The RAND report focuses on finding emerging factors that fulfill the needs of physicians working in a busy office atmosphere. Although EHRs helped physicians enhance quality of care and allow remote access to medical information, the same EHRs were also:

  • Difficult and time-consuming to use
  • Demanded that physicians engage in tedious data entry
  • Interfered with the amount of time spent with patients
  • Lacked integration with complementary systems
  • Diminished the viability of clinical documentation

If the opinions of the doctors included in this report represent the views of most doctors, then current conditions influencing the implementation of electronic health records have produced unintended consequences for satisfactory patient care. It is also apparent that providers, payers, patients and vendors want to improve the usability of electronic health records and enhance the integration of EHRs into office workflows to offer optimal care.

In an article published by Minneapolis newspaper Star Tribune, Rebecca Harrington writes that although the government is beginning phase two of its “Meaningful Use” incentive program, the ability of EHRs to decrease errors and improve a doctor’s diagnostic abilities has not culminated in the “next great technological jump in medicine” that was expected to occur by the Department of Health and Human Services.

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