Patients are fed up with portals, EHRs

KEY TAKEAWAY: Despite the fact that close to 90 percent of providers participating in meaningful use offer their patients online access, only about one-third of patients actually log in to see their data, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Why? Because providers like Atenahealth offer a lousy user experience.

According to Healthcare IT news “patients often receive access to a different portal for each provider they visit, and must manage separate login information for each one,” according to GAO. “The patients we interviewed were frustrated with the amount of time and effort it took to set up these portals, understand each portal’s user interface, and manage all the different passwords.”

DUH!!

Last month I led some research on EHR’s with patients and to say that they are fed up is an understatement.  They are frustrated at having to call their doctors to have health records sent from one  physician to another and they hate the interface which they see as overly complicated.  Surprised? You shouldn’t be, EHR providers aren’t known for conducting usability studies or getting input from HCP staff.

My gut tells me that Amazon, Microsoft and Apple are going to put a lot of EHR’s vendors out of business and frankly, that’s great news for patients and staff at healthcare offices.  During the research I learned that an EHR provider had updated their software overnight and sent a new user manual, in excess of 300 pages, to customers.  To say that the staff was livid is another understatement.

Amazon, Apple and Microsoft have the know how to make EHR easy to implement and, most importantly, easy for patients to use. I asked an office manager of a huge group of physicians in Florida if they would be sorry to see their current EHR vendor do (Athenahealth) her response was “God no! The sooner the better!”

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