As we’ve written before, there’s plenty that doctors both love and hate about EHRs. A new survey has some details on what clinicians see as the pros and cons of electronic records. 

Not a whole lot of doctors are thrilled about working with EHR systems, according to a recent report from IDC. Among the 212 ambulatory practices surveyed, 58% were dissatisfied, very dissatisfied or neutral about EHR software.

The top reason for that dissatisfaction: lost productivity. Among doctors who were dissatisfied, the top causes reported were:

  • EHRs require doctors to spend more time on documentation (cited by 85% of respondents), and
  • doctors can see fewer patients compared to before they adopted electronic records (66%).

Doctors also had many gripes with the specific software used in their offices and how those systems have been implemented. The top complaints include:

  • poor usability and badly designed interfaces
  • no access to mobile technology
  • inefficient processes, and
  • inadequate training and support.

Docs see positives, also

That’s not to say that all experiences with EHR systems are lousy — 42% of the practices surveyed were satisfied with electronic records.

Among those satisfied doctors, the top benefits cited were:

  • a reduction in the number of lost or missing patient charts (82%)
  • the ability to access patient records and other documentation remotely (75%), and
  • incentive payments from federal programs for the adoption of EHR systems (56%).

While there are still a lot of issues to iron out, providers still hope to get a number of benefits from EHR systems. The top goals for adopting a system, according to respondents:

  • improved regulatory compliance (cited by 56% of providers)
  • improved care quality (43%)
  • higher efficiency and productivity (30%), and
  • better communication and collaboration (22%).

A key takeaway from the study: Healthcare organizations need to be doing more to help doctors and others use EHR software more effectively.

That includes choosing systems that better meet doctors’ needs, as well as offering enough training and other support to help doctors get over the steep learning curve that often comes with new technology.

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