EHRs Continue to Disappoint


EHRs promised to revolutionize healthcare delivery, but in some cases they have placed considerable strain on physicians. According to a RAND Corp. survey, many physicians found that "the current state of EHR technology significantly worsened professional satisfaction in multiple ways." Some of the complaints by doctors include "poor usability, time—consuming data entry, interface with face-to-face patient care, inefficient and less fulfilling work content, inability to exchange health information, and degradation of clinical documentation." Nonetheless, only 20% of the survey's respondents said that they would return to paper charts. Most doctors do believe that EHRs are better than paper, but there have been losses that need to be corrected since medicine went digital.

Regulatory compliance and billing are responsible for some of the difficulties that doctors encounter when they use EHR, and vendors could deliver more innovative applications. According to a Medical Economics survey, 54% of physicians believe that their EHR system has helped them improve quality. However, EHRs have been unable to fulfill their promise of increasing efficiency. In 2005, a RAND study believe that health IT would save more than $80 billion annually, but this number has yet to be harnessed.

Summary by Caroline Smith

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Caroline Smith is currently a senior at the University of Notre Dame and is a contributor to Medical Groups. She is majoring in Science-Business and Spanish. After graduation, Caroline plans on entering the field of healthcare consulting. She is most interested in the evolving policy changes in the healthcare industry and enjoys learning about new technologies that are being developed.