Ambulatory docs unhappy with their EHRs

Physicians may be adopting electronic health records in record numbers, but more than half are still dissatisfied with them, according to a new study from IDC Health Insights.

The study of 212 ambulatory and hospital-based physicians conducted in September, found that 58 percent of respondents were dissatisfied, very dissatisfied or neutral about their EHRs. A whopping 85 percent stated they were unhappy because of the of the loss in productivity the systems caused, since they now saw fewer patients and spent more time on documentation.

"[T] the inability to restore productivity with EHR has clearly affected the business outlook for many providers," Judy Hanover, research director for IDC Insights, said in a blog post about the study.

Perhaps ironically, while more than half (56 percent) of the respondents said they transitioned to EHRs to attain Meaningful Use incentive payments and comply with the law, improving efficiency and productivity was another top objective.

The top reasons satisfied doctors were happy with their EHRs included a reduction in lost or missing charts, the ability to access records and work remotely, and earning an incentive payment.

The study suggested that the industry address how to restore or compensate for this loss in productivity and debated whether this should be accomplished with the current EHRs or via second generation products.

"EHR is here to stay, and it is important for both providers and vendors to address the issues raised in this study in order to succeed in the coming years with current and replacement EHRs," Hanover said. "Success and productivity with EHR will become even more important as EHR installations become the building blocks for care management, patient engagement and patient-centered medical home operations under accountable care."

EHR productivity loss has long been an issue for physicians. While EHRs in theory are intended to improve productivity, it has been suggested that this may only occur several years down the road.

To learn more:
- read the announcement
- here's the blog post