Docs blast EHR system as 'clunky' and 'time-consuming'

Add doctors to the list of healthcare providers with California's Contra Costa Health Services complaining about its recently installed electronic health record system.

Roughly three dozen doctors met with county officials earlier this week to blast the installation of its Epic system, which was completed in July. According to the doctors, long waits for patients have been only one of the side effects of the installation, as many called the system "clunky" and "time-consuming." One out of every 10 emergency room patients at the county's public hospitals so far this month left without being seen because of the waits--which ballooned from one hour to four, according to the Contra Costa Times. One patient waited 40 hours for a bed.

"We were not ready for Epic, and Epic was not ready for us," Keith White, a pediatrician with Contra Costa Regional Medical Center, told the supervisors, according to the article. "As a result, the providers are struggling to provide safe and effective care for 100,000 citizens of the county … We often feel that we are failing. We are very tired."

White added that many doctors already have left, and that all of them are thinking about leaving.

Earlier this summer, nurses working at the County's West County Detention Center--which also use the system--railed against the implementation, telling the Times that they received inadequate training prior to the system going live. "Each day, these nurses are fearful that they will kill somebody," said Jerry Fillingim, a labor representative for the nurses.

County officials, though, are asking that all providers to remain patient. One supervisor, Federal Glover, compared getting used to the system with the use of cell phones. "Eventually, it's going to become second nature," he said, according to the Times. "We'll wonder how we ever did without it."

To learn more:
- read the Contra Costa Times article