Docs Don’t Like Electronic Health Records

The authors of a recent physician satisfaction survey heard this loud and clear. They didn’t include any questions about EHRs in their initial written survey, but it became a focus after open-ended interviews revealed what a dissatisfier EHRs have become for physicians. The opportunity to earn Meaningful Use dollars has incentivized health systems and large physician groups to invest in EHRs. Physicians complained EHRs are difficult to use, require them to perform clerical tasks, can’t be used to import data from other providers, and are expensive. Most troubling to me are the physicians’ concerns that the inclusion of template-based notes makes the record unreliable. The templates make it easy to add information to an EHR, but increase the inaccuracy of the note, which is an issue for patient care and can make it easier to commit fraud. If we tell providers to stop using the template-based notes, this will make the EHR less useful. We need a way to improve the accuracy of the templates without sacrificing efficiency.

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