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EHR Report: 22% of Physicians are Disregarding Meaningful Use

July 22, 2014
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Respondents also say that EHRs negatively affect the doctor-patient relationship

The number of physicians who say they will not attest to meaningful use is growing, according to the 2014 electronic health record (EHR) report from Medscape, a component of WebMD.

In the report, 16 percent said they will never attest to meaningful use requirements (in Medscape’s 2012 EHR report, 14 percent said they wouldn't bother to attest), and another 6 percent of participants said they are abandoning meaningful use after meeting the requirements in previous years. Thus, 22 percent of physicians surveyed this year are opting out of or disregarding the meaningful use program.

For the report, Medscape invited physicians to participate in a survey of current EHR use; 18,575 physicians across 25 specialties responded during the period from April through June of 2014. Other key findings include:

  • Compared to the 2012 report, survey participants were significantly more negative in regards to how physicians feel that an EHR affects the doctor-patient relationship. In this report, 70 percent of respondents said the EHR decreases their face-to-face time with patients, and 57 percent said it decreases their ability to see patients. The number-one reason that physicians say they won't use an EHR is that EHRs interfere with the doctor-patient relationship (40 percent of responses).
  • More than half of respondents (56 percent) using an EHR are part of a hospital or health system network using their institution's EHR. On the other hand, only 39 percent of physicians using an EHR are in independent practice using their own EHR.
  • Epic and Cerner, two of the earliest EHR vendors, were first and second among survey participants in usage in 2014 (23 percent and 9 percent, respectively).
  • Despite complaints that EHRs make documentation too burdensome, 63 percent of respondents said that an EHR improves documentation; only 27 percent disagreed.
  • Thirty-four percent of participating doctors maintained that an EHR improves clinical operations, yet 35 percent said it worsens them. Thirty-two percent felt that an EHR improves patient service; 38 percent said it worsened patient service.
  • Survey participants were asked to rate their EHRs by several key criteria, including ease of use, vendor support, overall satisfaction with the product, how well it connects with other systems, and usefulness as a clinical tool. The highest-rated EHR, with a score of 3.9 (on a scale of 1-5), is the Veterans Administration EHR: VA-CPRS.
  • Amazing Charts, which is not used by hospitals and health systems but is more popular with smaller practices, was rated most highly, with a score of 4.0 for overall ease of use.
  • Fully 42 percent of respondents said they were either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their vendor. Less than a fifth (17 percent) were neutral, and a third (33 percent) were either somewhat dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.
  • Eighty-one percent of respondents agree that their EHRs have become easier and more comfortable to use over time. Eighty-four percent of participating physicians say that they plan to keep their EHRs.

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