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Survey: Docs Growing Unhappier With EHRs

August 12, 2015
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Compared to five years ago, more physicians are reporting being dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their electronic health record (EHR) system, according to a physician-based survey from online resource organization AmericanEHR Partners and the American Medical Association (AMA).

The survey included 940 providers and 155 questions, and found that close to, or more than half of all respondents, reported a negative impact in response to questions about how their EHR system improved costs, efficiency or productivity.

In a similar survey conducted by AmericanEHR five years ago the majority of respondents said that overall they were satisfied or very satisfied with their EHR system; with 39 percent being satisfied and 22 percent being very satisfied. In the current survey the majority of respondents indicated that overall they were dissatisfied with their EHR system; with only 22 percent indicating they were satisfied and 12 percent indicating they were very satisfied.

The questions on the impact of EHR systems on practice found that:

  • 42 percent thought their EHR system’s ability to improve efficiency was difficult or very difficult.
  • 72 percent thought their EHR system’s ability to decrease workload was difficult or very difficult.
  • 54 percent found their EHR system increased their total operating costs.
  • 43 percent said they had yet to overcome the productivity challenges related to their EHR system.

The report found that primary care physicians were more likely than specialists to report satisfaction with various aspects of the EHR system and to indicate a positive impact on practice. The report also suggested that the difference could be explained by the longer period of time, on average, that primary care physicians had used their EHR systems compared to specialists. Among survey respondents primary care physicians had used their EHR systems for a year longer than specialists, on average. They found that in most cases, it appeared to take at least three years for respondents to overcome initial challenges and to derive many of the benefits the their EHR system may have to offer.

“While EHR systems have the promise of improving patient care and practice efficiency, we are not yet seeing those effects” Shari Erickson, vice president of the American College of physicians’ division of governmental affairs and medical practice, said in a press release statement. “We need to focus on figuring out how we can help physicians and practices to more effectively implement and use these systems. Perhaps we are getting over the curve in EHR adoption. It may be that as we see more practices that have been using these systems longer we will see satisfaction begin to rise.”

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