Physician satisfaction with hospital EMRs declines

Just in time for the big push to make EMRs the norm in healthcare comes this wet blanket from Press Ganey Associates: Physician satisfaction with in-hospital EMRs is declining.

"Most negative physician comments about EMRs coalesce around two themes: They are difficult and time-consuming to use [layers of screens, multiple sign-ons, not intuitive so that it can take many minutes to do a task that previously took 30 seconds], and carry some negative implications for patient safety," South Bend, Ind.-based Press Ganey, which tracks physician and patient satisfaction rates, reports.

According to the just-released 2009 Hospital Pulse Report: Physician Perspectives on American Hospitals, physicians say EMRs often lack a clear summary of care patients have received during current hospitalizations. Doctors also are frustrated with not being able to access test results and nursing documentation on the same system, and with the fact that medication lists often are historical rather than current. Still, most physicians surveyed believe EMR systems can be improved to provide them with what they need.

"Many, if not most, hospitals are just now implementing EMRs that the physicians have to use for order entry or to access information," Christina Dempsey, Press Ganey's senior vice president for patient flow, says. "The lower satisfaction may indeed simply be the learning curve associated with this new tool and may improve as physicians become more accustomed to the technology and the technology is updated and adapted to meet physicians' concerns."

To learn more:
- read the Press Ganey report (.pdf)
- take a look at this Press Ganey press release