AAPS: Physician, patient views of EHRs primarily negative

There's yet more evidence that physicians and patients are unhappy with the current state of electronic health records, according to a new survey released by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.

The Internet-based survey found that roughly 81 percent of the 571 physician respondents said that EHRs "on the whole impede care;" only 5.6 percent said that they improve care. What's more, almost two thirds (63 percent) said that EHRs "seriously compromise confidentiality;" 76 percent said that they're a "cash cow for data miners," and close to 47 percent said that they endanger patient safety.

In addition, only 13 percent said that they will "do what it takes," such as using scribes, to comply, presumably a reference to the Meaningful Use program. Twenty-nine percent plan to continue using or return to paper records, while 25 percent plan to opt out of government programs and third-party contracts; nearly 9 percent plan to leave their independent practices and become an employee.

The patient responses were also largely unfavorable, although their focus was a bit different. Fully, 83 percent of the 100 patient respondents believed that EHRs seriously compromised confidentiality, and 52 percent said they impeded patient care. Only 8 percent said that EHRs improved patient care. Sixty-two percent of patients viewed EHRs as a cash cow for data miners.

The 305 accompanying comments from both patients and physicians also were mostly negative. Some physicians noted that they were using EHRs only because they were affiliated with hospital systems and had no choice.

The results may be a bit skewed, as the survey size is relatively small and the wording of some of the questions was somewhat leading. However, in many ways the survey mirrors other studies that have found physicians and patients frustrated with the systems as currently designed and negatively affecting the physician/patient relationship. 

The American Medical Association has encouraged physicians to share their experiences, many of them negative, with their elected representatives. Many provider groups have decried EHRs and the Meaningful Use program and urge that changes be made.

To learn more:
- read the announcement