Fail­ing grade for EHRs shouldn’t be a sur­prise

Modern Healthcare - - Comment -

The ar­ti­cle “Physi­cians score EHRs an F on us­abil­ity, study finds” (Modernheal­th­, Nov. 18) stated “elec­tronic health record sys­tems scored in the bot­tom 9th per­centile for tech­nol­ogy us­abil­ity, which could con­trib­ute to physi­cian burnout, ac­cord­ing to a new study.” These re­sults should come as no sur­prise to anyone in health­care.

Not a day goes by in any health­care set­ting with­out hear­ing from frus­trated providers. (I even hear complaints dur­ing my of­fice vis­its with physi­cians.) EHRs are de­signed for billing rather than med­i­cal us­abil­ity. They en­sure the provider clicks enough boxes to meet cri­te­ria for a billing level. The num­ber of clicks and drop-down lists is over­whelm­ing, with the ul­ti­mate doc­u­men­ta­tion some­times worth­less. In fair­ness, ICD-10 fur­ther ex­ac­er­bated this prob­lem with the ridicu­lous num­ber of sub-di­ag­noses.

To ap­pease providers, IT has en­abled prob­lem­atic func­tion­al­ity (like copy for­ward and au­topop­u­la­tion of ev­ery di­ag­nos­tic test), fur­ther diminishin­g the value of the pa­tient’s med­i­cal record. Read­ing a record to­day does not ad­e­quately tell the pa­tient story, nor is it user­friendly. I sug­gest we need to start over with the en­tire EHR sys­tem, uti­liz­ing ac­tive providers as sub­ject mat­ter ex­perts.

Denise Adema, R.N. Fort My­ers, Fla.

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