While doctors recognize the important advances that electronic health records have enabled, they have serious concerns about the negative impact that EHRs are currently having on their professional lives and patient care, according to a March 12 blog by the RAND Corporation. Moreover, physicians worry that EHRs are significantly more expensive than anticipated which is creating uncertainties about the sustainability of their use.

The blogger, Mark Friedberg, a RAND natural scientist and a practicing general internist, provides the results of a RAND study on professional satisfaction sponsored by the American Medical Association. Doctors "described poor EHR usability that did not match clinical workflows, time-consuming data entry, interference with face-to-face patient care, and overwhelming numbers of electronic messages and alerts," writes Friedberg. "Physicians in a variety of specialties reported that their EHRs required them to perform tasks that could be done more efficiently by clerks and transcriptionists."

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