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Black Book: 9 in 10 Small Practices Not Optimizing Advanced EHR Functionalities

April 18, 2018
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Eighty-eight percent of small practices of six or less practitioners still aren't optimizing advanced EHR (electronic health record) tools such as patient engagement, secure messaging, decision support and electronic data sharing, according to the latest Black Book survey of ambulatory EHR products.

The survey of 19,000 EHR users across the country found that highly functional and highly customizable integrated EHR, practice management, revenue cycle management and ICD-10/ coding products are proving to be the sought after technology solution of choice for groups and clinics with 12 or more practitioners.

Cloud-based mobile solutions for on-demand data with access to practice actionable insight into financial performance, compliance tracking and contractual quality goals specifically received the top interest by groups in the replacement mode (93 percent), followed by telehealth/virtual visit support (87 percent) and speech recognition solutions for hands-free data entry (82 percent).

Another notable finding in the report is the "wait and see" before replacement posturing of some of the major suppliers of solo physician practice systems in states of change—including vendors such as Practice Fusion and eClinicalWorks, with both claiming over 93 percent customer loyalty positions in Q1 2018.

To this end, the report found that 30 percent of practices with more than 11 clinicians expect to replace their current system by 2021 due to customization issues.

"Traditionally, it [has] been the smaller and solo practices with the highest dissatisfaction ratings for electronic health record applications but we confirmed also that the smaller the practice, the less likely they are to use advanced IT tools and that is where EHR frustration among small practices is generally focused," said Doug Brown, managing partner of Black Book. 

Indeed, when it comes to the use of advanced features, namely: electronic messaging, clinical decision support, interoperability, data sharing and patient engagement, most small to midsized groups, clinics and practices are failing to optimize and/or reap any benefits in 2018, according to the report’s data.

For example, when asked about interoperability/record sharing functionalities, 80 percent of single/solo practices said they never or infrequently engage in it; but that number dropped to 59 percent in medium-sized practices and 22 percent in larger practices of 15 or more providers.

Regarding patient engagement, meanwhile, 84 percent of single practices said they do not leverage these strategies at all or only infrequently; and that number dropped to 38 percent for mid-sized practices, and 9 percent for larger practices of 15 providers or greater.

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