January 30, 2012
According to various studies, over half of office-based physicians are currently using an EMR. Despite the benefits inherent in electronic health records technology touted by healthcare professionals, many doctors still have a love-hate relationship with their EMR. Still more doctors are delaying adopting an EMR because they are wary of the changes it will cause in their practice.
Most EMR issues can be attributed to decreased productivity. Doctors have good reason to dislike their EMR if it slows them down. Many specialists see over 50 patients a day, thereby making a usable EMR critical to maintaining a productive workflow.
Still other EMRs are largely by-products of practice management software designed by health IT gurus rather than doctors, the end users. This leaves doctors with no choice but to master complex workarounds to procedures that were once much easier to manage on paper.
I have even heard of EMRs being compared to a two-year-old child that demands the physician’s attention at the most inconvenient of times, keeping physicians from taking care of patients.
These negative experiences are most unfortunate, especially considering that these issues could be avoided with better software, software that was built to solve problems, not create them. There are EHR solutions that coincide with a doctor’s workflow rather than requiring them to change, and EHRs can in fact do their job without slowing the physician down.
The key is to look for a vendor that has been around for more than a couple of years. The EHR market is highly saturated, meaning that the EHRs that don’t give doctors something they can work with will not last very long. If an EHR has stood the test of time, it generally means that the product is good enough for physicians to keep using it. Simply staying in business doesn’t signify success on its own, though. A company’s pioneering trail and dedication to customers is even more important. These EHRs exist already, and the demand for electronic health records will continue to improve their effectiveness.