In some practices, EHR is a four-letter word. Practices are struggling with adoption for a number of reasons, and physicians are making their opinions heard.
Until EHR development is perfected, these issues will repeatedly come to light, which is useful. This allows vendors to take note and incorporate valuable feedback into the development phase.
What are some of the major complaints physicians have about EHRs?
Technology has been largely democratized since the dawn of the Internet, so it makes sense that physicians would reject an EHR that is too difficult to use. And while voice recognition software and EHRs on iPads may make certain features of your software easier to carry out, usability is the key to achieving ease-of-use.
Simply put, easier-to-use EHRs result in enhanced effectiveness and efficiency by catering to human cognitive patterns, which raises productivity and reduces error. Also, user-friendliness helps different interfaces work with each other, i.e., between your practice and labs, resulting in greater interoperability.
This means organizational level benefits for your practice. If EHR usability correlates with cost reductions and patient safety equates to more patient trust and repeated visits, then your practice as a whole benefits.
Forced to Change
You may be wary of a cramped workflow at your practice when choosing an EHR, and this is mostly because doctors feel the switch forces them to change established ways.
What bogs down your practice’s workflow? Too many clicks? Template creation? Doesn’t mirror your practice’s EHR model?
MGMA consultant Cindy Dunn warns physicians in a recent Medscape article, claiming companies are in “an ideal environment when they’re testing [EHRs].” And while she believes EHRs can make it difficult to complete some routine tasks at your practice, she also notes that not all EHRs are the same.
However, it’s likely physicians at your practice are forgetting about ‘desk time,’ or how many hours they were spending at a desk dictating notes, signing off on documents and reviewing lab results.
Doctors don’t understand why they have to put forth so much effort towards achieving Meaningful Use compliance. Think of the physicians at your practice. How do you go about sending clinical summaries to half your patients in three days?
This is an example of the types of mandates required for Meaningful Use attestation. Considering the difficulties associated with creating templates for notes and the poor user experience design of many EHRs on the market, how do physicians get this accomplished?
It will cost your practice money to hire an employee to do this specifically, and asking a current employee to handle this kind of task could put your practice behind in several organizational categories. It’s seemingly a lose-lose situation.
But think about the advantages: rapid-fire data accessibility, which is incredible for on-call physicians; quick refills and referrals; and tidiness – an oft-underestimated EHR benefit.
What kind of difficulties are physicians at your practice facing?