Doctors/Patients: EHR’s have failed on their promise

KEY TAKEAWAY: Physicians and patients are not happy with electronic health records.  That was the overwhelming takeaway from a day and half of qualitative research that, at times, became a megaphone for the displeasure of the current state of EHR’s.

“I’m sick and tired of having to relearn my EHR platform every time an update comes out”.  That was how one session of research started with doctors on the current state of EHR’s.

Not only are physicians unhappy with their EHR choices patients don’t understand why they can’t have one EHR that can be shared and used by all their doctors.

Doctors were especially critical of several EHR vendors, including the market leader.  “Not once has anyone come to my office and asked me, or my staff, what WE want and need in EHR’s”. He continued “instead, what we get are updates which require my staff to relearn even basic use along with a user guide that sometimes is hundreds of pages”.

Patients were also not happy.  “When I go see my Neurologist I have to call my doctor and either request she fax my records or hand carry them and I have had to cancel appointments because records were not shared between my doctors”. When asked what patients liked EHR’s their response was overwhelmingly “the ability to email doctors to ask for an Rx renewal”.  We asked the question “how many of you have made appointments via EHR’s?”  To our surprise most said “no” because their physician doesn’t allow online appointments.

The bottom line: EHR’s for patients offer convenience of requesting refills via emails.

Not too long ago an EHR company president was nominated as a “healthcare innovator”.  Clearly that list is more about the balance statement of that vendor than the service they actually provide.  As one doctor said “all these EHR vendors care about is selling us a product that doesn’t meet my needs in a changing environment where I have to see a lot of patients to make my practice successful”.