CIOs: EHR usability for record retrieval 'poor'

Electronic health records are falling down on the job when it comes to finding the information that they hold, according to a new survey from Frost and Sullivan.

The study, "EHR Usability-CIOs Weigh in on What's Needed to Improve Information Retrieval," which was conducted in conjunction with the College of Health Information Management Executives (CHIME), surveyed about 60 CIOs, primarily from mid to large community hospitals. The respondents reported that while the EHR market was mature, the technology itself was immature, and was too slow and lacked precision when it came to information retrieval. These problems, as well as the difficulty in finding and reviewing the data, created "significant" productivity losses and increased potential risks to patient safety.

Respondents also reported that the problem was due to "rudimentary search functionality" and "poor usability," not inadequate user training or dislike of the systems.  Moreover, they said, the problem may get worse as EHR data and use of the systems grow.

"Providers know that EHRs are inevitable, but there are growing concerns about usability problems and the potential negative impact on patient care and clinician engagement," the study states.

The survey suggests that regulatory authorities will take a more active role in dealing with the problem and that some vendors will take advantage of the business opportunity. Technology most likely to improve EHR usability, according to the authors, includes natural language processing and visualization dashboards.

This is not the first time that providers have expressed frustration with the usability of EHR systems. The American Medical Association has gone so far as to create its own framework to improve the usability of the systems.

To learn more:
- read the announcement