Nurses: EHRs decrease time with patients, hurt collaboration with outside facilities

While nurses find electronic health records help improve patient safety and make it easier to access health information, they say the systems often are inefficient and hurt outside collaboration, according to a recent study.

HIMSS Analytics surveyed 600 nurses about their use of EHRs and opinions on the systems. The report was published on behalf of EHR vendor Allscripts.

The nurses surveyed praised EHRs for helping improve safety (73 percent) and for enhancing collaboration within their organization (73 percent). They were dissatisfied, however, with the ability to collaborate with outside facilities, and also felt the tools impacted how much time they could spend with their patients. Only 31 percent said they found EHRs enabled more time with patients.

Nurses aren't the only ones in the industry who feel this way. In a recent survey by Accenture of 600 U.S. physicians, 70 percent said EHRs decrease their time with patients.

However, a majority of the nurses responding to the Allscripts survey did not want to go back to paper records, despite their complaints. Just 15 percent said they would return to paper if given the opportunity.

Nurses have been unhappy with EHRs for a while, though their responses to the Allscripts survey are not as severe as ones to a similar survey conducted last fall by Black Book Market Research. That report found of the 13,650 U.S. nurses responding, 92 percent were dissatisfied with in-patient EHRs.

One way to ensure nurses are satisfied with EHRs is to bring them to the table when it comes to the EHR-purchasing process, Kerry Bruning, a pediatric oncology nurse and director of marketing for the Allscripts Sunrise organization, said in the report.

"Being disengaged during the selection process, not feeling you were part of it, impacts adoption," she said.

Sixty-six percent of the respondents said they had not been invited to be part of that process.

Increasingly, though, nurses are starting to have a more prominent say in implementation of health technology as their leadership roles grow in that area, especially with the development of chief nursing informatics officers to chief nursing information officers.

To learn more:
- check out the report (.pdf)