Physician dissatisfaction with the performance of their electronic health records systems is not a new phenomenon, but it continues to be a factor in many healthcare organizations and a contributor to physician burnout.

The age of the physician using a records system provides some of the most striking differences in how doctors interact with and like EHRs, according to research by KLAS Enterprises.

A HIT vendor research firm, KLAS in November started studying ways to create a better EHR, inviting 10 organizations to complete a survey and getting results from five. KLAS received responses from physicians within the five organizations.

One of the key trends for satisfaction showed correlations between the age of EHR users and their clinical or administrative background. If younger users were most satisfied with the EHR, older users in the same organization generally were the least satisfied. Conversely, if youngest users were the least satisfied, the oldest were the most satisfied, says Taylor Davis, vice president of KLAS Research and leader of the project, called The Arch Collaborative.

Another key indicator of physician satisfaction with a records system was that those who took training seriously and committed to the EHR program did well with the EHR, Taylor notes.

Davis Taylor

Also See: KLAS ranks Epic, GE Healthcare, Change Healthcare among top vendors

For example, physicians who took the time to properly configure their settings for bone scanning of patients were dramatically more satisfied with results of the scanning; the length and insightfulness of comments on the scanning was remarkable, says Taylor, who saw interaction with the EHR as one indicator of satisfaction.

That said, the biggest challenges to making EHRs better are enabling “click efficiency,” to ease documentation and a general unease when using EHRs. Surveyed clinicians complained that they feel stupid when using the EHR and feel out of control when dictating. Doctors are not convinced that vendors and their information technology personnel care about patients the way doctors do, survey results show.

During the research, Taylor visited a delivery system on the West Coast and talked with clinicians and IT personnel about ways to improve EHR satisfaction. The doctors said they wanted ways to get to data and insights quicker and more efficiently, and three-quarters of the doctors said they would pay more for an EHR that requires fewer clicks. About 80 percent of the physicians wanted an EHR that gave better patient insight. And, doctors didn’t mind documenting in the EHR if they derived value from doing so, but many physicians don’t believe they are getting a return on their documentation efforts.

On the flip side, most of the doctors don’t receive training on how to get data out of the EHR quickly—they only know how to put data in. What they most want, however, is an EHR that helps them quickly access the data they need to better understand the patient and improve care.

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