Electronic Health Records and the Incompatibility Question

by | Published on Nov 10, 2014 | EHR/EMR

Are doctors being turned into clerks with electronic health record implementation? While physicians agree on the good points of EHRs, many of them feel that their documentation burden is considerably increased with this type of record entry. It interferes with their role as clinicians and robs the time they ought to spend in direct engagement with their patients. Often, the entire process is so distractive that some providers are considering hiring the service of medical scribes.

Significant Drawbacks

  • Physicians say that most electronic health record systems fail to meet their requirements and hinder the efficiency and effectiveness of their clinical work.
  • The rigid Meaningful Use requirements force providers to implement and use the available systems that are not supportive as expected.
  • The focus now is mainly on meeting the requirements than improving patient care.
  • A survey of the American College of Physicians member sample found among its other findings that EHRs slowed down at least one data management function, and that it took longer to find and review medical record data.

Physicians Left out When Making a Purchasing Decision

Only one out of four organizations involved physicians at every step during the purchase of a clinical system, according to an important survey. Moreover, less than half consulted a physician advisory board or used beta testing before implementing the new system. Physicians opine that they would like to have more involvement in the development and implementation of EHRs. They could then provide useful and practical suggestions to vendors who may not have a good understanding of medical practices and their workflow. A successful electronic medical record system would be one that is logical for the way doctors are trained and how they think.

While debates still rage regarding whether EHR software had in some way contributed to the confusion in the Dallas emergency room where an Ebola infected patient was sent back into the community, providers are very much concerned whether similar dysfunctions in electronic health records will occur and prove costly to patients. This is because the digital files physicians have to deal with are so copious and literally unmanageable as pointed out in a recent insightful blog by a practitioner.

Hospital EHR systems hold healthcare data ranging from the most trivial to the most valuable as well as a lot of misinformation that have been cut and pasted many times. Unfortunately, most electronic software available at present cannot meet the huge medical data management requirements. Moreover, even if a thoroughly efficient EMR system evolves and healthcare facility servers become totally error free, perhaps nothing may be able to replace the detailed and caring consultation a physician used to have with his/her patients before the entry of digital records.

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