3 Reasons Your Electronic Medical Records Might Be Making You Miserable
Despite some undeniable challenges in their implementation, electronic medical records/electronic health records have made great strides in the past few years. Between 2010 (the first year from which trend data is available) and 2013, there was a significant increase in physician adoption of EHRs capable of meeting Stage 2 meaningful use as defined by the federal government; now, about three-fourths of physicians with EHR systems report that their system meets meaningful use criteria.
Are electronic medical records actually making life better for physicians? Not everyone is so sure. As Eric Wicklund, editor of industry site mHealthNews, noted March 11, “Doctors are miserable, and technology isn’t helping.” He cites a recent study from Geneia that says that more doctors are miserable in their practices than are satisfied, saying that regulatory burdens and technological overloads are contributing to that misery. In the long run, everyone hopes that technology will ease burdens on doctors, he writes, but that’s not presently the case.
There’s another way of looking at this information, though. It could be that some practices are overlooking very simple ways of improving their EMR software experiences without having to wait for overhauls years down the road.
Here are three reasons why your EMR might currently be making you miserable — and how to fix the problem:
You’ve Not Using the Right EMR:
One of the simplest explanations for your EMR not working for you is that you might be using the wrong EMR. Not all software is equal in quality, and you may have an even harder time finding software that meets your needs if you work in a narrow specialty. If that’s the case, changing EMRs might be the best decision in the long run.
You’re Not Training Your Staff:
Like most tools, EMRs require user training in order to be effective. It’s normal to see an initial slowdown when implementing any sort of new procedure, but you should soon see efficiency improve dramatically as long as proper training measures are in place. If that doesn’t happen, it’s time to think about retraining (ideally with the help of your EMR developer).
You’re Not Changing Your Mindset:
Entering information into EMRs can take longer, it’s true; a survey done in 2014 of the American College of Physicians member sample found that family practice doctors spent 48 extra minutes per day on EMRs. But that’s only a problem if EMRs are merely accounting for the exact same information as old-fashioned paper charts. In most cases, EMRs can do significantly more (and lead to greater efficiency and better care down the line), which means it’s not necessarily a bad thing to spend a little extra time on them.