EHR dissatisfaction on the rise

We've known that many providers are unhappy with their electronic health record systems, but the level of dissatisfaction appears to be growing, according to a survey by the American College of Physicians and AmericanEHR Partners, web-based resource for EHR system selection and implementation.

Overall, user satisfaction dropped by 12 percentage points between 2010 and 2012 and the "very dissatisfied" group grew by 10 percentage points.

The findings represent 4,279 responses to multiple surveys developed by ACP and AmericanEHR Partners between March 2010 and December 2012. The surveys were conducted in conjunction with 10 different professional societies. Seventy-one percent of respondents were in practices with 10 physicians or fewer, according to an ACP announcement.

Among the findings:

  • 39 percent of clinicians would not recommend their EHR to a colleague, up from 24 percent who said so in 2010.
  • With regard to ability to improve patient care, the "very satisfied" group dropped by 6 percentage points, while the "very dissatisfied" group grew by 10 points.  
  • Surgical specialists were the least-satisfied group, while primary-care doctors were the more satisfied; medical sub-specialties fell between the two.
  • Satisfaction with ease of use fell 13 percentage points. Thirty-seven percent reported increased dissatisfaction.
  • 34 percent of users were "very dissatisfied" with the ability of their EHR to decrease workload, up from 19 percent in 2010.
  • Respondents also said it is becoming more difficult to return to pre-EHR implementation productivity levels. In 2012, 32 percent of respondents said they had not returned to the previous level of productivity; 20 percent said so in 2010.

Training remains a major issue at all levels of implementation, according to an AmericanEHR blog post, citing one survey linking satisfaction and ease-of-use rankings with the duration of training.

A recent Black Book Rankings survey predicted that 2013 would be the "Year of the Great EHR Vendor Switch," with up to 17 percent of physician practices planning to ditch their current EHR system.

The average physician lost nearly $44,000 over five years of implementing an EHR, according to recently research published in Health Affairs. Just 27 percent of physicians in that study achieved a five-year positive return on investment and only 14 percent more would come out ahead if Meaningful Use payments were factored in.

To learn more:
- find the ACP announcement
- here's the AmericanEHR post