A recent survey of physicians about their experience using hospital electronic health records (EHR) systems found that over one-third of respondents claimed that using the hospital’s EHR system negatively affected their efficiency and productivity. The same percentage said using an EHR detracted from the amount of time they spent with patients.
So here’s a case of what’s bad for the goose is bad for the gander. Physicians and patients have a common interest in seeing improvements to hospital EHRs. Of course, they can’t make those improvements themselves. Physicians (at least most that I know) are not software programmers, so they’re not going to write the code to create a better EHR user experience. But patients and physicians can and should advocate for change.
Here are a few items on a physician’s list of EHR issues:
These and other impediments to using hospital EHRs demand attention because physicians are by far the most expensive and limited resource in the healthcare system.
Fortunately, solutions exist to all five of the common EHR problems described above. Unfortunately, at many hospitals, those solutions have not been implemented. The result has been mounting physician frustration and lost productivity – and sometimes, whether patients realize it or not, slightly less time and attention from their doctor.
View an infographic about EHRs from a physician’s perspective – “The Way It Is vs. The Way It Should Be”.
Donald M. Burt, MD, is Chief Medical Officer at PatientKeeper, Inc. Before he joined PatientKeeper in 2007, Dr. Burt served as President of Berkshire Faculty Services, the multispecialty physician practice group affiliated with Berkshire Health Systems; Vice President, McKesson Corporation; and Vice President and Medical Director of Health New England, a provider-owner HMO.