News Feature | August 11, 2014

The Best EHRs And Why Some Physicians Are Opting Out Altogether

By Megan Williams, contributing writer

Best EHR Options

Physician use of EHR systems has taken some interesting shifts recently that you’ll want to be aware of. Medscape (part of the WebMD professional network), conducted a survey of 18,575 physicians across 25 specialties around their use of EHR systems, challenges using them, and their intended use in the future. Here are some highlights of the study.

How Common Are EHR Systems?

When Medscape conducted a similar survey back in 2012, 74 percent of physicians questioned reported using an EHR, and 8 percent were in the process of implementing one. This year, those numbers are up to 83 percent currently using the technology, with a drop down to 4 percent installing/implementing. Only 7 percent of respondents indicated they have no plans to buy or use an EHR system in the next one to two years.

Use was also dominated by physicians using systems that were in a hospital or health system and using their EHR (56 percent). For independent physicians using their own systems, 39 percent chose this answer and physicians in independent practice, but using a hospital EHR came in at 6 percent.

The Winners

It may be helpful to keep in mind the rankings of individual systems. The survey allowed users to rank their systems on a scale from one to five.

The top systems overall were:

  • VA-CPRS (3.9)
  • Practice Fusion (3.7)
  • Amazing Charts (3.7)
  • MEDENT (3.5)
  • E-MDs (3.5)
  • athenahealth (3.4)
  • Epic (3.4)
  • Nextech (3.4)
  • eClinicalWorks (3.2)

It’s also worth noting that the only major change in the rankings from 2012 to 2014, was Amazing Charts falling from a rating of 4.2 to 3.7, taking it from first, to third place. Amazing Charts did still come in at number one for ease of use with a score of 4.0.

Satisfaction

A big takeaway from the survey is, that while the bulk of physicians are not dissatisfied with their EHR vendor, only 14 percent indicated they were very satisfied. The largest group (28 percent) indicated they were somewhat satisfied, and the remainder was, at best, neither satisfied nor dissatisfied. (Only 9 percent indicated no interaction with their system vendor.)

The majority of respondents (84 percent) indicated they wanted to keep their EHR system, with only 8 percent wanting to switch because of dislike. Of those who didn’t use an EHR, 40 percent indicated it was because of the system’s interference with the doctor-patient relationship, while 37 percent cited cost as the main impediment.

Insights For VARs

Make sure, when discussing EHRs with new clients, to give a nod to interoperability and be mindful of what’s being used by local health systems. Also, it is important to stress the fact that the systems, while frustrating at first, do become easier (81 percent of respondents indicated they got easier over time), and they can expect to see benefits if they take the time to learn them.

Want more insight into the concerns that providers have around EHRs? Check out our article on data questions that healthcare clients are concerned about. 

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