Physician Satisfaction with Electronic Medical Records Declines: According to Press Ganey Report, Communication Still an Issue

Press Ganey Associates' 2009 Hospital Pulse Report: Physician Perspectives on American Hospitals found physicians' satisfaction with electronic medical records (EMRs) is decreasing. Many physicians actually consider this increasingly common technology to be time-consuming and fear that it may compromise patient safety. The report also finds that, for the third year in a row, physicians' number one issue is a gap in the physician-administration relationship. Physicians continue to report a need for better communication between administrators and medical staff.

"Many, if not most, hospitals are just now implementing EMRs that the physicians have to use for order entry or to access information," said Christina Dempsey, RN, MBA, CNOR senior vice president for PatientFlow, Press Ganey Associates. "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."

The 2009 Physician Pulse Report examines the experiences of 27,328 physicians practicing at nearly 300 hospitals and facilities across the country. Other significant findings from the report:

  • One of the top concerns of physicians is their confidence in hospital administration to carry out its duties and responsibilities.
  • Although many physicians would like to see improvements in EMRs, most are satisfied with their facilities' ability to provide up-to-date medical equipment.
  • Physicians who work in government-owned hospitals report lower satisfaction with their hospitals than their peers in community-owned and teaching hospitals. The difference in the score is 6.3 points - a significant variance.
  • Physicians practicing psychiatry, pediatrics and emergency medicine top the list of satisfaction by specialty. Those least satisfied include physicians dealing with cardiovascular disease, anesthesiologists, and general and orthopedic surgeons.
  • Physicians who have been practicing for five years or fewer, and those who have been practicing for more than 20 years are the most satisfied.


"Open communication between administrators and physicians is vital not only to their relationship, but also to the bottom-line of the hospital," said Deirdre Mylod, PhD, vice president of hospital services, Press Ganey. "So much of a hospital's business is based on physician referrals, and competition among hospitals and surgical facilities continues to heat up. If administrators and physicians can improve communication, the effects will trickle down and lead to more satisfied patients and a better bottom-line."

Findings have shown physician satisfaction levels improve when hospitals put targeted programs in place, such as a monthly newsletter from the CEO to physicians, a 1-800 number for physicians to call with concerns (and a 48 hour return call guarantee), and a commitment to take simple steps like including physicians in communication regarding hospital finances.

Mylod added, "When physicians feel like they are part of decision-making processes and the overall health of the hospital, they take more pride in practicing at the facility."

For more information, including the full report and a case study from a Press Ganey client please visit http://www.pressganey.com/galleries/default-file/Physician_Pulse_Report_2009.pdf. Deirdre Mylod, vice president of hospital services, Press Ganey is available for comment upon request.

Press Ganey Associates, Inc.
For more than twenty years, Press Ganey has been committed to providing insight that allows health care organizations to improve the quality of care they provide while improving their bottom-line results. The company offers the largest comparative customer feedback databases, actionable data, solution resources, and unparalleled consulting and customer service. Press Ganey currently partners with more than 10,000 health care facilities-including over 40% of U.S. hospitals-to measure and improve the quality of their care.

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