Every week there is a new article or statistic reflecting the pain that physicians experience from electronic health records. The majority of physicians are dissatisfied with their EHR. It takes more time to find the information they need for patient visits, the documentation burden has increased, and it has not led to interoperability and better care coordination. Even worse, the difficulty that EHRs cause doctors is one of the main reasons physician burnout is at an all time high.
Clearly this is a problem that affects everyone in healthcare, and it needs to be addressed. We have to look backwards and learn from our mistakes if we are to make lasting improvements to this industry-wide problem.
Looking Back: No One Asked Physicians
Unlike many other industries, the computerization of healthcare was government-mandated. The introduction of Meaningful Use pushed everyone to adopt electronic medical records as quickly as possible. The goal was no longer technology that would be helpful and improve efficiency; rather, the goal was to gain government incentives and avoid penalties.
Designed for Government Standards, Not Physicians
Because the goal was meeting government standards, rather than improving the ease and productivity of work for physicians, there was no need to ask physicians what they needed. Vendors were less concerned with the end-user experience and more concerned with achieving government qualifications, qualifications which did not lead to a user-friendly experience for physicians. These qualifications were all about documentation, rather than functionality in the exam room.
In the aftermath of quick innovation and implementation, doctors have to use this software every single day. It may not have been designed with them in mind, but they are the ones who have to use it day in and day out. It has made practicing medicine harder, not easier.
Even now, when it comes to EHR enhancements, organizations and vendors are still choosing not to ask the very people these enhancements affect most. A survey by Deloitte found that only 34% of physicians were asked for their feedback on EMR enhancements. This is likely why the dissatisfaction with EMRs persists today.
The majority of physicians are dissatisfied with their current EHR, yet they feel stuck. 70% of physicians would like to switch EHR systems, yet aren’t able to because of the high costs and a lack of better options. On top of that, 57% of physicians would not recommend their current EHR to their peers.
The fact that so many physicians are so unhappy reveals that no one vendor has gotten it right yet. There is no one EHR system that is consistently and successfully making the lives of their end-users, the physicians, easier and more productive.
Looking Forward: Physician Feedback
The main problem before was that no one asked physicians what they needed. Luckily, it is not too late. For the healthcare leaders, organizations, and technology vendors who care about physicians and patients, let’s seek feedback from doctors on what they actually need from their EHR.
By now most healthcare organizations realize that switching EHR vendors will not solve any problems. The high costs associated with switching EHRs do not outweigh the benefits. Even if your new EHR solves whatever frustration you were having, it most likely brings with it a host of new frustrations.
However, practices and organizations who want to improve their EHR don’t have to replace it. Today, many EHRs allow third-party applications to work with them. You can personalize your EHR to meet your needs without the hassle and pain of EHR replacement.
This is why it’s not too late to ask doctors what they need. These third-party applications can offer far more customization, and therefore physician satisfaction, than any one vendor could.
Our focus is on the front end of the patient exam. Doctors, what data do you need to see, and how would you like to see it? AccelaVIEW is a personalized data screen designed by doctors, for doctors, and it works right on top of your EHR. Start your free design today.