Docs' views of EHRs still lackluster

There's still not much buy-in from physicians regarding their electronic health records, even though more of them are adopting the systems, according to a new survey from Physicians' Practice.

The 2015 Technology Survey found that 53.3 percent of the 1,181 respondents have fully implemented an EHR, and 19.6 percent didn't have one. The remainder either were using a hospital-based system or were in the process of implementation. Of those practices that did not have an EHR, the top reasons included that they did not believe it would improve patient care, followed by the expense and the inability to find a product that met their needs.

Those that had an EHR reported that the system didn't necessarily make their lives easier, with 15.5 percent noting a drop in productivity, and 36.9 percent seeing fewer patients per day after implementation. Half of the respondents (51.4 percent) saw no change in the number of patients seen.

Lack of interoperability was noted as the most pressing IT problem for 14.2 percent of respondents; 13.8 percent said implementation was their top concern, while 13.3 percent struggled with meeting the Meaningful Use requirements. What's more, while 62.8 percent of respondents said they successfully attested to Stage 1 of the program, only 34.6 percent have attested to Stage 2. Only half (49.4 percent) said that their vendor has met the Stage 2 requirements.

Just 12.9 percent were very satisfied with their EHR vendor, while 42 percent were merely satisfied with their vendor and 27.9 percent found their vendor "mediocre." Seventeen percent were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.

The survey put some front-burner topics in perspective. For instance, while two-thirds (66.5 percent) of respondents said that their EHR improved patient documentation, only one-third (32.3 percent) said that it produced a return on investment. Around 36 percent had conducted a security risk analysis of their EHR's vulnerabilities to protect electronic patient data, even though doing so is a requirement of both the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the Meaningful Use program. For all of the hoopla about data sharing, more than three-fourths (77.6 percent) of respondents were not in a health information exchange. Only 40.3 percent were using a cloud vendor.

The survey corroborates other studies about physician EHR adoption. More physicians are using the systems but they're not wholeheartedly accepted.

To learn more:
- access the survey