Survey: Docs 'extremely unhappy' with EHRs from all of the major vendors

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Physicians are still “highly dissatisfied” with their electronic health records, but currently have few expectations that any of the systems will be much better in the near future, according to a new survey released by peer60.

The survey of 1,053 physicians, conducted in August, found that overall, 85 percent of ambulatory facilities have an EHR. Most of those who did not were small clinic organizations that did not believe that they needed one or couldn't afford one, although 34 percent of those were planning on adopting an EHR in the near future.

The market leaders for the acute care participants were Epic, Cerner and Allscripts; the field was more competitive in the ambulatory space, but Epic led with 18 percent, followed by Allscripts and eClinicalWorks.

However, respondents were “almost universally unsatisfied” with their EHRs, mainly because of their poor usability and lack of desired functionality. This dissatisfaction applied to all of the major EHR vendors.

The survey noted that these findings were “incredibly important” because they’re derived from the caregivers themselves, not IT leadership.  Yet only 9 percent of physicians in acute facilities and 11 percent of ambulatory facilities were actively looking to replace their current EHR, which the report surmised is because the replacement wouldn’t be much of an improvement.

“We’ve said it before--physicians and other caregivers are the sleeping giants of healthcare," the report stated. "So all suppliers, even Epic, should be forewarned--you can only disappoint physicians and other caregivers for so long ... eventually, you will pay the piper."

The top priorities physicians sought in an EHR were patient satisfaction data, accountable care, alternative payments models and patient portals.

“The EHR supplier that cracks the code of frontline user satisfaction [which doesn’t exist anywhere today] will have a competitive advantage unparalleled in this segment of healthcare," the report's authors wrote. "Imagine a supplier that had an army of caregivers behind it, spreading the sweet, sweet message of real usability? The bubble-up effect would be impossible to ignore."

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