Home From The Editor Is your EHR working out for you?

Is your EHR working out for you?

July 2015
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Published in the July 2015 issue of Today’s Hospitalist

Physicians complain about EHR technology, sometimes bitterly, but is the software really all that bad? As this month’s issue demonstrates, hospitalists as a group are divided about the technology.

Let’s start with physicians who find EHRs to be a big source of frustration. In our cover story, the complaints will probably seem familiar: having to log into multiple systems and click through endless pages of order options to accomplish seemingly simple tasks. Too often, physicians feel they must change how they practice to meet the needs of the software, not vice versa.

But in that same article, we also hear from hospitalists who like their EHR. These physicians explain how their facilities have redesigned their local systems to make them more agile and functional. Plus, they say the technology now makes them more productive physicians.

How is it that doctors doing similar jobs can have such different views? As our coverage points out, the hospitalists who are more or less happy with the technology work at facilities with resources allocated for IT support “and very engaged physicians. These facilities have the money and people-power to redesign their EHR systems. And hospitalists are often the physicians put in charge of the clinical aspects of that process.

Unfortunately, other hospitals don’t have those resources. As a result, it feels like we’re entering a period of digital haves and have-nots. Physicians who work in hospitals with strong clinical and IT support “often larger, more urban facilities “are likely to have a much better experience with technology than colleagues at resource-poor institutions.

That’s a problem, particularly when you consider that we as a nation have poured $30 billion and counting into EHR technology. With that much money invested “and so much on the line in terms of the quality of patient care “it seems like we should be able to do much better.

edoyleEdward Doyle
Editor & Publisher