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Doctors Rate EHR Poorly Sparking AMA To Call For Improvement

1 year, 7 months ago

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Posted on Nov 15, 2019, 1 p.m.

The electronic health record was supposed to make things easier for doctors, but when it comes to the actually usability of the EHR doctors have spoken and rated it rather poorly, rating the systems with an F;  poor usability of the EHR systems correlates with the high rate of physician burnout according to a recent study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 

870 American physicians were surveyed about the EHR systems who were asked to rank the usability of the system from 0-100; the mean score was 45.9 which is in the not acceptable range, or a grade of an F. 

Physician burnout was also measured in this study to which a strong relationship was found between the EHR system usability and the odds of a doctor also reporting burnout: for every point in usability there was a 3% link to lower odds of burnout. 

“The findings will not come as a surprise to anyone who practices medicine,” said Patrice A. Harris, M.D., president of the American Medical Association (AMA), which collaborated on the study.

In a statement, Harris said that based on these findings the AMA has made it a national imperative to overhaul the design and use of the EHR systems as this study shows it is designed, implemented, regulated, lacking usability making the systems hard to use compared to other systems. 

“Too many physicians have experienced the demoralizing effects of cumbersome EHRs that interfere with providing first-rate medical care to patients,” Harris said. “It is a national imperative to overhaul the design and use of EHRs and reframe the technology to focus primarily on its most critical function—helping physicians care for their patients,” Harris said. The AMA is working to ensure a new generation of EHRs that don’t overload physicians with type-and-click tasks, she said.

This study was co-written by AMA leader, along with burnout researchers from Stanford, Yale, and the Mayo Clinic. Previously another AMA study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found physicians spend up to 2 hours on EHR work for each 1 hours they spend delivering care; and a separate study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found first year residents spend 90% of their time away from patients of which half is spent interacting with EHRs and documentation.

In American close to half of doctors exhibit at least one symptom of physician burnout this is a serious problem that causes some to cut back on time spent practicing medicine and even forces them out of the field. An alarming 79% of primary care physicians reported experiencing burnout in a recent study this year also published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

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