Docs down on EHRs, healthcare's future

Physicians are not happy with electronic health records and other aspects of their practices, according to a new study released by the Physicians' Foundation.

The study, which analyzed responses from 13,575, physicians found that while 69.5 percent of respondents have implemented EHRs, only 15.9 percent felt "very positive" about the products; almost the same number, 14.9 percent, were "very negative" about the technology. More than 47 percent were "significantly concerned" that EHRs posed a risk to patient privacy and almost 10 percent found that EHR implementation was one of the least satisfying aspects of operating their practice.

Almost 16 percent had delayed health IT implementation due to concerns with the Medicare fee schedule system; another 15 percent said they would delay such implementation if Medicare fees were reduced by 10 percent or more.

Respondents weren't even in agreement that EHRs improved quality of care. Only 32.9 percent said that they did, while another 13.4 percent said that their EHR hadn't, but anticipated that it would. Yet 18.5 percent said that the systems would not improve quality of care, and 7.9 percent said that EHRs may improve quality, but they weren't worth the investment.

The findings reflect an overall "high level of disillusionment" regarding medical practice, with 77 percent pessimistic about the future. Close to 72 percent of respondents were unsure of where the health system will be or how they'll fit in three to five years from now, and more than half said they had reached a tipping point and plan to make changes to their practices.

To learn more:
- here's the study