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Fixing EHRs: What do physicians want?

Alex Tate
Alex Tate, Health IT Consultant, CureMD

Electronic health records (EHR) systems can be great tools for healthcare facilities, as they provide an electronic option for physicians to store patient information. When these systems operate well, they can provide a whole new level of convenience to the office for both the physicians and the patients. Medical records can be organized and more easily obtained by the user, as well as improved billing processes.

However, now that EHR is becoming mandatory for certain facilities, physicians are excepting more from these systems. Sluggish hiccups, confusing interfaces, and inconvenient features are what turn professionals off from these systems the most. When considering fixing these systems, here is a list of what physicians want from EHR so that processes and procedures in their facility can improve.

A user-friendly system

Usually, more than anything, physicians want an EHR system that is more user-friendly. When the system is too complicated to use or teach to someone else, then it begins to waste time in the office, time which most facilities don’t have. Minimalistic layouts and convenient features constitute the label of “user-friendly,” as well as the ability to access the system on multiple devices.

This user-friendly system should also come with a training system that will be able to teach the user everything they need to know about operating the system. Errors with complicated EHR systems usually occur due to the user, but with a user-friendly EHR, these types of mistakes can be avoided. Additionally, a simpler EHR system will grant physicians the option to keep the majority of their processes in-house, which allows for the facility to have more flexibility both time-wise and with their staff.

Exceeds Meaningful Use requirements

More isn’t always better, but in this sense, Meaningful Use should at least meet and match the requirements of the specific healthcare facility—that’s what physicians want from EHR. If those requirements are met and exceeded, then you have a crop full of happy doctors because they are then able to avoid Medicare and Medicaid penalties. In addition to avoiding penalties, some facilities can even opt in for incentive programs, which will benefit the practice if they use their EHR system properly, all of which directly correlates with Meaningful Use.

The three stages of Meaningful Use are meant to promote the use of EHR, emphasize care of patient information, and to improve the outcome of the healthcare. While this is already the goal of most physicians, having an EHR system in place that will make these goals more attainable is desired. If the EHR system is willing to go the extra-mile to meet Meaningful Use requirements, then the physician will be, too.

Improved patient care quality

Doctors and nurses do everything they can in order to ensure that patients are receiving the best care possible, because it is their passion. So why would they not want an EHR system that does the same? Improved patient care quality could arguably be what physicians want from EHR the most because, despite how hard the physician works, if the billing process is complicated, patients won’t be happy.

Not only will patients not be happy, but they could be less likely to return to that particular office, which would not bode well for business. With an EHR system that properly stores patient information and seamlessly incorporates that information into billing, without any snags, is ideal. Of course, technology is technology and glitches are bound to happen, but physicians would be much happier if these mistakes were brought down to a minimum, understandable amount.

Integrated guidance

In a world of modern medicine, new studies are constantly surfacing, and it can be difficult for any doctor, nurse or medical professional to stay updated on every detail. With an EHR system that has integrated guidance, it can be simpler for these physicians to understand the best methods and medicines for the current time. But because doctors are highly intelligent, they expect this information to come from a credible source, which seems to be where bulk of EHR systems are missing the mark.

Additionally, this guidance can include information on how well the facility itself is doing. Physicians want to be able to understand which areas of their office are struggling the most, so that they can address issues accordingly. To take it a step further, these EHR providers should be able to deliver comprehensive reports on billing, so that physicians will know where their facility stands, financially.

More bang for their buck

Lastly, physicians are people too and want their investment to be worth the cost. Nothing is more infuriating than putting your trust, time, and money into a system that simply doesn’t deliver in the way you expected it to. This doesn’t necessarily mean that EHR companies should lower their prices, but it does mean that they need to revaluate what they are asking for the services that they do offer.

Read: EHR vendor pricing comparison

Watch: Meaningful Use :  Six things to do Before the Year’s end