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Ambulatory Providers Dissatisfied with EHR Systems, Survey Reveals

November 14, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
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The majority of ambulatory providers are dissatisfied with their electronic health record (EHR) systems, according to the results of a new survey from the Framingham, Mass.-based research firm, IDC Health Insights.

The survey, conducted by MedData Group, a Topsfield, Mass.-based marketing and information provider for healthcare companies, found that 58 percent of ambulatory providers were dissatisfied, very dissatisfied, or neutral about their experience with ambulatory EHR.

The 212 ambulatory and hospital-based providers that responded to the surveycited poor usability, inappropriate form factors and user interfaces, access to mobile technology, workflow tools and configurations, inadequate training on the technology, inadequate staffing and support, inefficient processes, and application uptime and availability as the reasons for their dissatisfaction. The two most frequent reasons for EHR dissatisfaction involved lost productivity — spending more time on documentation (85 percent) and seeing fewer patients (66 percent).

"Despite achieving meaningful use, most office-based providers find themselves at lower productivity levels than before the implementation of EHR. Workflow, usability, productivity, and supplier quality issues continue to drive dissatisfaction and need to be addressed by suppliers and practices,” IDC research director Judy Hanover said in a statement.

In addition, IDC Health Insights found that providers’ top reasons for implementing EHR are mostly regulatory-based. They include regulatory compliance (56 percent), improving the quality of care (43 percent), and qualifying for meaningful use incentives (40 percent). The top tasks physicians’ use EHR include: accessing patient information, documenting care, ePrescribing, viewing labs and diagnostic tests results, and entering orders.

A recent survey by from the Santa Monica, Calif.-based nonprofit research organization, the RAND Corporation, reveals that physicians too are dissatisfied with EHRs. Physicians said the systems interfered with face-to-face discussions with patients, forced physicians to spend too much time performing clerical work, and degraded the accuracy of medical records by encouraging template-generated notes.

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