Depending on who you talk to these days, physician satisfaction with their electronic health record systems is either dramatically increasing or decreasing. Results of two new surveys released this month point in opposite directions, fueling debate about whether widespread EHR adoption is in fact having a positive impact on doctors’ practices.      

On the positive side of the ledger, a survey out this week by market research firm Black Book has identified a “shift upward in physician experience across the large practice and clinic sector, since first measuring EHR satisfaction six years ago.” In particular, the firm finds that large physician practices are more satisfied with electronic health record usability, interoperability and productivity improvements over the past few years than small practices.

Also See: Cloud-Based EHRs Rate High among Small Practices

According to survey results of 1,304 large practices released this week by Black Book, overall satisfaction improved in several areas:

*Physician experience satisfaction, from 8 percent (2013), to 31 percent (2014) to 67 percent in Q2 2015.

*Physician documentation improvements, from 10 percent (2013), to 28 percent (2014) to 63 percent in Q2 2015.

*Practice productivity enhancements, from 7 percent (2013), to 17 percent (2014) to 68 percent in Q2 2015.

While the Black Book survey focuses on EHR satisfaction among large practices, a new survey from AmericanEHR Partners—conducted on behalf of the American Medical Association—reveals that compared to five years ago, more physicians are reporting being dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their EHR system. In particular, the survey of 940 physicians found that only 34 percent of doctors were satisfied or very satisfied with their EHR system in 2014, down from 62 percent in 2010.

Large numbers of all AMA survey respondents reported a negative impact in response to questions about how their EHR system improved costs, efficiency or productivity. In the survey, 72 percent believed their EHR’s ability to decrease workload was difficult or very difficult; 54 percent said their EHR system increased their total operating costs; and 43 percent indicated they had yet to overcome the productivity challenges related to their EHR.

At the same time, Black Book reveals that clinics and large practices implementing an original EHR prior to Q4 2012 were the most dissatisfied (71 percent) with their EHR vendor’s performance in 2015. As a result, 18 percent of implemented large practices and clinics are in the discussion or execution stages of replacing their original EHR by the end of 2016, according to the firm.

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