Let the EMR Backlash Begin

A survey released at HIMSS by the American College of Physicians shows that there is growing serious dissatisfaction by practicing doctors with their EMRs. The type of practice doesn’t matter and neither does the brand of EMR.

It appears as if the doctors surveyed feel that the technology was oversold and does not live up to expectations. The results were compiled over by AmericanEHR Partners, an organization started by ACP and Cientis to help implement EMRs and focus on ways to use them to improve quality of care.

The surveys included over 4,200 responses collected between 2010 and 2012. Over 70% of the doctors surveyed were in practices of 10 or fewer practitioners. Over 80% were participating in Meaningful Use Incentive programs.

They may be practicing with EMRs and getting their Meaningful Use revenue, but they don’t like it.

Overall EHR satisfaction dropped 12 percentage points.

The doctors who are “very dissatisfied” increased 10 percentage points.

Other highlights from AmericanEHR Partners:

  • The percentage of clinicians who would not recommend their EHR to a colleague increased from 24 to 39 over the two years.
  • Clinicians who were “very satisfied” with the ability for their EHR to improve care dropped by 6% compared to 2010, while those who were “very dissatisfied” increased 10%. (Surgical specialists were least satisfied. Primary care physicians were more satisfied than medical subspecialists.)
  • 34% were “very dissatisfied” with the ability of their EHR to decrease workload — an increase from 19%.
  • Dissatisfaction with ease of use increased from 23% in 2010 to 37% in 2012, while satisfaction with ease of use dropped from 61% to 48%.

Much discontent may stem from this: About a third said they have not been able to get back to pre-EHR levels of productivity.

I wonder if the rapid pace of implementation of Meaningful Use led practices to rush into choosing a product and implementing before doing enough workflow changes or even looking at how their practices would change.

Neil Minkoff, MD, is medical director of MediMedia Managed Markets and also an independent health care consultant.