Health IT

Why physician input is essential to EMR optimization

A Deloitte survey found only 34 percent of physicians said their organization or EHR vendor sought their feedback on EMR enhancements.

technology, EHR, EMR, doctor, physician, tablet

It’s not exactly shocking news to hear physicians are dissatisfied with EHRs. A 2017 study out of the University of Wisconsin and the American Medical Association only added fuel to the fire, as researchers found EHR-related tasks take up half of the primary care physician’s workday.

The Deloitte 2018 Survey of U.S. Physicians took a closer look at the relationship between doctors and EMRs. Approximately 624 U.S. primary care and specialty physicians participated in the survey.

One of the key findings revolves around physician feedback on EHRs. Though doctors are EMR end users, the study discovered that their insight is often overlooked.

Only 34 percent of surveyed physicians said their organization or EHR vendor sought their feedback on EMR enhancements. The proportion was about the same for employed and affiliated physicians versus independents. However, 44 percent of primary care physicians said they have been asked for feedback.

Why is this the case? Jay Anders, a former practicing physician and the CMO of Medicomp Systems, had an answer.

“I’ll tell you why it is — EMR companies don’t feel physician input is important,” he said in a phone interview. “There are very few EMR companies that have clinical input.”

The survey also found a link between asking for feedback and sustaining engagement. Among doctors who weren’t asked for feedback, 51 percent said they weren’t aware of EHR optimization efforts at their organization or through their EHR vendor. However, only 16 percent of those who were asked for feedback said they weren’t aware of EHR optimization efforts.

Without getting physicians’ thoughts on EMRs, it’s hard for an EHR vendor to create a likable product. But how can health IT companies better engage doctors and get their insight?

Anders had a recommendation.

He suggested doctors should be more vocal about their thoughts on EHRs. “They haven’t found their voice as a way to communicate their displeasure,” he said, noting that surveys like Deloitte’s are one way of giving feedback.

Once physicians start to speak up or put pressure on vendors, the vendors will listen, Anders added.

Photo: JGI/Jamie Grill, Getty Images