Healthcare News & Insights

Doctors’ 3 biggest complaints about EHRs

Some healthcare organizations trying to implement electronic medical records run into trouble getting doctors on board with using the new system. Here are some of doctors’ top complaints – and how organizations can help overcome them. 

The key: communication. The folks in charge of an EHR implementation should stress the benefits of using EHRs starting during the initial planning stages. Organizations should be honest about what the system will achieve so that doctors are not disappointed in the actual results.

Effectively communicating the benefits of electronic records, training everyone properly and providing strong technical support can help oragnizations overcome doctors’ three most common complaints about EHR systems:

1. Productivity drops at first

Implementing an EHR system is a big undertaking, and as with any new tech system, it will take some time for an organization to get used to. That means doctors might not see any productivity gains for a while. In fact a survey conducted by American EHR Partners found that in many cases, productivity drops dramatically right after a new system is installed.

And even after they’re used to the system, doctors may never become more productive than they were when using paper records. Often, that’s because electronic records are allowing them to do more than the old system. It may help to explain the benefits of EHRs not in terms of how much time they’ll save but what more they’ll allow doctors to do for the patient.

2. Practices might rely on the system too heavily

EHR systems have a lot of features to help doctors make better decisions — and some doctors will interpret that to mean the system will be making decisions for them.

But organizations should emphasize during EHR training how doctors can combine the information they get from the system with their own expertise to give patients the best possible care.

3. Technology will interfere with patient communication

Little changes that are caused by EHR adoption can have a big impact — for example, facing a computer instead of holding a chart can make it more difficult to make eye contact with a patient and make it clear the doctor is listening.

To help, organizations should make sure computer terminals are set up in exam rooms in ways that facilitate communication between doctors and patients. Also, using tablet computers instead of PCs to access records is one option that can help doctors maintain the feel of using paper charts.

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