A greater percentage of doctors are unhappy with their electronic health records than five years ago, according to a survey from the American Medical Association (AMA) and AmericanEHR Partners, a free online resource for the medical community created by the American College of Physicians (ACP) and Cientes Technologies.
The 155-question online survey of 940 physicians, conducted between May 30, 2014, and July 18, 2014, found that roughly half of all respondents reported a negative impact in response to questions about how their EHR improved costs, efficiency or productivity. In particular:
- 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 said their EHR system increased their total operating costs
- 43 percent said they had yet to overcome productivity challenges related to their EHR system
The survey corroborates other reports about physicians' problems with their EHRs. The AMA recently held a town hall meeting to enable physicians to voice their frustrations and launched an initiative to encourage them to "share their stories" with members of Congress.
"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 ACP's division of governmental affairs and medical practice, said in a statement. "We need to focus on figuring out how we can help physicians and practices to more effectively implement and use these systems."
The survey also found that primary care physicians were happier with their EHRs than specialists. This may be because they've used their systems for a longer period of time. In most cases, it takes at least three years for physicians to see the benefits of EHRs, according to the survey.