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Survey: Majority of EHR Users Express Some Satisfaction With Their Systems

June 18, 2014
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Nearly three-quarters of survey respondents indicated they were at least somewhat satisfied with their electronic health record (EHR) systems, according to new research from Austin, Tx.-based EHR reviewer Software Advice.

The ongoing survey polled users of EHR software, asking questions about which EHR system they use, how satisfied they are with it, and its key benefits and challenges. Although McKesson-owned products rated highest in terms of user satisfaction, 72 percent of all respondents indicated they were either “very” or “somewhat satisfied” with their EHR systems, meaning there are several other vendors out there with highly satisfied users.

These results come in contrast with other recent surveys that poll users regarding their satisfaction with their EHR systems. Earlier this month, a Premier, Inc. survey found that 41 percent of providers are dissatisfied or indifferent in regards to their current EHR systems. What’s more, a report in April from the same EHR reviewer, Software Advice, found that a growing number of medical practices—40 percent—were looking to replace existing EHR systems in the first quarter of 2014.

Additional survey results included:

  • 35 percent of EHR users are investing more in patient portals in 2014 than they did last year.
  • Desktop computers are still the dominant means for accessing EHR systems; 83 percent of respondents use their EHRs on a desktop computer at least occasionally. Nearly 70 percent of users access their EHR via laptop, more than one-third of EHR users access their systems on tablets, and 20 percent use smartphones to access EHRs.
  • Respondents were asked to rate how well their EHR delivers on a list of key benefits often touted by the government, EHR vendors and other EHR proponents. At the top of the list of user-reported benefits, 87 percent of users say their EHR offers easy access to records, while 86 percent say EHRs offer more legible and/or robust records. More than half of all respondents indicate that their EHR delivers every benefit listed “well” or “very well.”
  • The greatest challenges on the list are slowed productivity (with 51 percent of users reporting this as a “major” or “moderate challenge”) and integration with other systems (55 percent of respondents). Even doctors who acknowledge their EHR makes their operations more efficient overall initially complain of individual visits taking longer to chart, as they learn a new system and phase out their traditional paper approach.
  • Other key challenges include customizing the system, importing existing records (i.e., data migration) and learning to use the system, each of which are rated as “major” or “moderate” challenges by right around 50 percent of respondents.
  •  Achieving meaningful use is only rated a “moderate challenge” by 30 percent of users, and a “major challenge” by just 9 percent. According to the survey’s authors, a possible explanation for this is that the challenges users associate with meaningful use have more to do with staff preparedness and executing requirements with patients than with the actual software itself. Without an EHR, meaningful use couldn’t be achieved at all, and it is possible respondents are thinking of the question in those terms, the authors noted.

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