EHR Dissatisfaction on the Rise

Laura Joszt

Electronic health records may be more prevalent in the health industry, but user satisfaction has dropped with an increasing number of users saying they are very dissatisfied with their EHR's ability to decrease workload.

Electronic health records (EHRs) may be more prevalent in the health industry, but user satisfaction has dropped, according to a new survey of clinicians.

The American College of Physicians (ACP) and AmericanEHR Partners surveyed more than 4,000 clinicians between March 2010 and December 2012. During that time user satisfaction fell 12%, while the number of users who said they were “very dissatisfied” increased 10%.

“Dissatisfaction is increasing regardless of practice type or EHR system,” Michael S. Barr, MD, MBA, FACP, who leads ACP's Medical Practice, Professionalism & Quality division, said in a statement.

The most dissatisfied group was surgical specialists, while primary care physicians were more satisfied than medical subspecialists.

In 2012, 39% of clinicians said they would not recommend their EHR to a colleague, which was up from 24% in 2010. Furthermore, 34% said they were “very dissatisfied” with the ability of their EHR to decrease workload, an increase from just 19% in 2010.

Another problem with EHRs is that users are finding it difficult to return to productivity after implementing the technology. Almost a third (32%) of users said they had not returned to normal productivity compared to 20% in 2010. According to health information experts, users should expect it to take at least three months to return to

pre-EHR implementation productivity levels,

and there are a number of factors that determine that length of time,

including size of practice — the larger the practice, the longer it take.

Of the clinicians surveyed, 71% were in practices of 10 physicians or less and 82% intended to participate in the Meaningful Use incentive program.

“These findings highlight the need for the Meaningful Use program and EHR manufacturers to focus on improving EHR features and usability to help reduce inefficient work flows, improve error rates and patient care, and for practices to recognize the importance of ongoing training at all stages of EHR adoption,” Barr said.