EHRs Have Presented More Frustrations than Answers
“Help us help patients.”
Technology should always facilitate and reinforce the patient-doctor connection, and then step out of the way. Unfortunately, current EHRs seem to have had the exact opposite effect, a sad fact that physicians are hoping to change. Don’t misunderstand, no one wants to return to paper charts; but health care providers across the country should insist on improved usability from EHR vendors, and smarter oversight from government.
In short, physicians need technology that facilitates the process, but allows them to actually be doctors.
Our culture is overwhelmed with rapid-fire technological advances; smartphones with the capabilities of supercomputers, an accessible Internet which establishes connections globally yet with user interfaces a child can figure out. Our health care software is overtly complex and incredibly expensive, yet this system neglects the very backbone of the practice of medicine – the relationship between healthcare providers and their patients. EHR’s allowed paper charts and preventable errors to be replaced with cut and paste notes and different preventable errors. Instead of bringing ease, it brought frustration; increased physician burnout. 43% of physicians say their job is now more difficult – and an astounding 60% of healthcare professionals would not recommend anyone they love going into the field.
Physicians have not felt their voice in this process. They feel they have spent more time checking boxes than caring for patients; more time staring at screens than spending moments with human patients; more time on the machine, than as a man. Physicians sense that the EHR was built far more for the billers and reimbursements than for patient care, and the problems with inter-operability between systems present a scary, often unusable and unconnected software “solution” that fails both doctor and patient.
But doctors are finding that voice, and beginning to ask for the EHR that will provide the functionality that allows for comprehensive, interactive patient care. Doctors need to step forward and demand the changes; become empowered to build their own platforms that will work in their practice. In an age of social media, there is no reason that technology cannot be social, user friendly and intuitive. The time has come for physicians to work with the software industry to create the EHR that will truly revolutionize the health care industry.