A new survey of more than 600 U.S. nurses finds that a large majority of respondents believe electronic health records can help providers improve patient safety (73 percent) and reduce medication errors (72 percent). And, acute care nurses were even more convinced that EHRs support improved patient safety (82 percent).

However, the survey—conducted by HIMSS Analytics on behalf of EHR vendor Allscripts—also showed

that fewer than half of the nurses surveyed (43 percent) agreed that EHRs eliminate duplicate work, while an even smaller percentage of floor/acute nurses (26 percent) indicated that EHRs reduce duplicate work. Though about a third of nurses (31 percent) agreed that EHRs help them to spend more time with patients, even more (38 percent) said that EHRs in fact reduce the time they can spend with patients.

Also See: Nurses Not Included in Hospital EHR Planning

And, while more than two-thirds of respondents (69 percent) said they were satisfied with the ability of their organization’s EHR to help enable sharing with other clinicians, the level of satisfaction over EHR-based collaboration varied depending on the location of collaboration partners. Nearly three-quarters of nurses surveyed (73 percent) said EHRs effectively help enable collaboration with other clinicians inside their organization, but only about half of respondents (49 percent) agreed the EHRs help enable collaboration with clinicians outside their organizations.

Despite their criticism of EHRs, 71 percent of surveyed nurses said they would not want to go back to paper-based medical records. Nonetheless, 15 percent of respondents said they would return to paper-based records if given the opportunity, while another 14 percent were unsure.

“This study is helpful for anyone who wants to better understand how healthcare IT affects nurses, from their point of view,” said Brendan FitzGerald, research director at HIMSS Analytics. “Results show that nurses have the highest levels of satisfaction around how EHRs improve the quality of clinical decisions. But there are also findings that indicate EHR vendors could do more to improve nursing workflows.”

The full results of the survey can be downloaded here (registration required).

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