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Doc dissatisfaction with EHRs grows: survey

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | March 06, 2013

Instead, what might be happening is the systems aren't "optimized" for specialty users, who in the survey were less satisfied than primary care practices, Brookstone said. For instance, close to half of primary care docs said they were either "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with their EHRs' ability to improve care, as opposed to only one-third of surgical specialty practitioners.

Training is also an issue. To get the most out of advanced functions, the survey suggests user satisfaction peaks with one week of training; for more basic ones, at three to five days, Brookstone said. But in the survey, about half of respondents said they had fewer than three days of training, or none at all, Brookstone said.

The big concern with this is that doctors will likely face more complexity when later meaningful use stages take effect. In a January letter to Farzad Mostashari, the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, ACP worried that the to-be-decided Stage 3 looks to focus on functional measures rather than patient outcomes and will increase documentation — all of which could dampen physician participation or satisfaction.

"What's concerning [in] some of the trends: we're not achieving, at least by these data, the uptake in use we hope to achieve," Dr. Michael Barr, the survey's co-author, told DOTmed News.

The survey also comes as other red flags have been raised about computer health systems. On Monday, a Health Affairs report that found many practices lost money investing in EHRs, even with the $44,000 meaningful use incentive offered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

For now, the researchers said they're undertaking a more detailed analysis, which they hope to have wrapped up in the next four to six weeks.

"We're supportive of meaningful use," Barr said. "We're concerned about the pace."

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