Jeff Rowe, Editor, Future Care

Jeff Rowe is the editor of Future Care and a veteran healthcare journalist and blogger who has reported extensively on initiatives to improve the healthcare system at the local, regional and national level.

How doctors want to make EHRs better

May 19, 2017 AT 1:43 PM

EHRs are supposed to make healthcare more efficient, right?  

Tell that to your doctor.  

“If you were to start from scratch, you wouldn’t come up with the systems we have today,” Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, an associate professor of anesthesiology, surgery, biomedical informatics and health policy at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, recently told Medical Economics.

Last year, the American Medical Association (AMA) released a study which found physicians spend nearly half their office day entering data into electronic health records (EHRs) and handling other administrative deskwork, and a major cause, the AMA said, was poorly designed EHRs.

With that problem in mind, Medical Economics spoke to a number of docs for suggestions – from a provider’s perspective, importantly – as to how to improve the increasingly ubiquitous technology. 

Among the ideas: 

Make the systems work together. “I hear almost every day some issue around interoperability from doctors -- not having access to data, or if they get it, they get a 20-page document that the system doesn’t understand,” said Steven E. Waldren, MD, director of the American Academy of Family Physicians’ Center for Health IT.

Make electronic systems easier to use. Marc D. Price, D.O., a physician at Family Medicine of Malta in New York state, told the publication he must call customer support to produce some reports required by regulators and often must enter the same data multiple times.

Add better analytics to help with value-based care. EHRs could help physicians analyze their records to identify patients who aren’t doing well, suggested Dr. Waldren.

Incorporate new technology. EHRs could incorporate mobile technologies, voice recognition, imaging and telemedicine, for example.

Of course, it seems fair to wonder why these and other ideas weren’t incorporated into the technology in the first place.