Vendor changes increasing EHR satisfaction among larger doc practices

Vendor improvements to their electronic health records are increasing large practices' satisfaction with their systems, according to a new survey from Black Book Rankings.

The survey, of 1,304 large multispecialty practices, found a shift upward. For instance, in 2013, 92 percent of multispecialty groups using EHRs were very dissatisfied with their systems' ability to improve clinical workload, documentation and user functionalities. But in 2015, 71 percent of large practice clinicians said that their expectations were met or exceeded; 82 percent of support and administrative staff also reported better operational and financial performance.

Allscripts, Greenway, McKesson and athenahealth all recorded the largest increases in satisfaction in the past 12 months. Users of these systems stated that uptick was due to vendor investments in updates and releases, practice assessments and clinical workflow enhancement. Other factors included revenue cycle management and analytics value add, population health improvements and solicitation of physician feedback.

"Vendor transparency and accountability concerns are challenging clinics and practices to reevaluate their technology relationships again," Doug Brown, Managing Partner of Black Book, tells FierceEMR. "The pattern is re-emerging to replacing original EHR systems with vendors that are trustworthy in service delivery and innovative to support providers through reforms."

Overall, the changes include:

  • Physician experience satisfaction, which increased from 8 percent in 2013 to 31 percent in 2014 and 67 percent in Q2 2015
  • Physician documentation improvements, which grew from 10 percent in 2013 to 28 percent in 2014 to 63 percent in Q2 2015
  • Practice productivity enhancements, which increased from 7 percent in 2013 to 17 percent in 2014 to 68 percent in Q2 2015

The picture wasn't completely rosy. There was still dissatisfaction reported by clinic-oriented users in regional connectivity, implementation and training, and customer support.

"Meaningful use deadlines, total integration and reliable delivery may have influenced large group practice buyers to purchase initial EHRs from 2010 through 2013, but replacement buyers sought better EHR tools in 2014 that include patient engagement, true interoperability, enhanced usability and productivity gains," Brown said in a statement. "There was also a measurable shift in loyalty to vendors that offered a robust, core EHR to accommodate evolving reforms."

The report is in sharp contrast to a new survey from the American Medical Association (AMA) and AmericanEHR Partners, which found a greater percentage of doctors are unhappy with their EHRs than five years ago. The AMA recently launched a new initiative aimed at enabling physicians to air their frustrations directly to their representatives in Congress.

To learn more:
- read the announcement

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