The American Medical Association (AMA) is calling for a complete overhaul of the electronic medical record (EMR), saying current systems are taking their toll on physicians.
The association released a framework this week outlining what it believes are the top eight priorities to make EMRs usable. Those include:
- Enhancing Physicians' Ability to Provide High-Quality Patient Care
- Supporting Team-Based Care
- Promoting Care Coordination
- Offering Product Modularity and Configurability
- Reducing Cognitive Workload
- Promoting Data Liquidity
- Facilitating Digital and Mobile Patient Engagement
- Expediting User Input into Product Design and Post-Implementation Feedback
AMA used a study from the RAND Corporation from last year as the basis of its framework. The study's researchers looked at 30 physician practices in six states — Colorado, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. In total, researchers spoke with 220 physicians, medical administrators and allied health professionals, in an attempt to understand the motivating factors for job satisfaction and dissatisfaction in a physician’s life.
According to the physicians studied, the systems interfered with face-to-face discussions with patients, forced them to spend too much time performing clerical work, and degraded the accuracy of medical records by encouraging template-generated notes. Furthermore, physicians say the systems are too costly and don’t allow them to “talk” to each other, preventing the transmission of patient medical information when it is needed.
"Physician experiences documented by the AMA and RAND demonstrate that most electronic health record systems fail to support efficient and effective clinical work," AMA President-elect Steven J. Stack, M.D., said in a statement. "This has resulted in physicians feeling increasingly demoralized by technology that interferes with their ability to provide first-rate medical care to their patients."
AMA plans to use the framework to work with physicians, vendors, policymakers, health care systems and researchers to drive EHR improvements that can advance the delivery of high-quality, affordable care.