AMA Pleads For More User-Friendly EHRs

Joseph Conn | Modern Healthcare | September 16, 2014

The American Medical Association is targeting the usability—or lack thereof—of electronic health-record systems as part of a broader campaign to improve physician satisfaction.  Perhaps the most important thing the government can do to alleviate physician frustrations with EHRs is to amend its EHR incentive payment program so that providers won't have to achieve every meaningful-use criteria to receive incentives or to avoid penalties, said Dr. Steven Stack, AMA's president-elect, at a news conference Tuesday.  “Making the thresholds more reasonable would be a more effective way to address the forward momentum,” Stack said.

The AMA released a set of eight priorities and an action plan to bring about needed improvements to EHRs, how they are implemented and how they are used.  “The AMA believes that it is imperative to step back and place the EHR in the proper role” in healthcare, Stack said. “Doctors find that these tools have great promise and potential, but they're very much not where they need to be.”

The AMA's approach is to work with EHR vendors, the government and fellow providers “to make them better,” he said.  EHRs should enhance physicians' ability to provide high quality of care by fitting seamlessly into their practice and not distract physicians from care of their patients, AMA contends.  Systems should also support team-based care and help physicians delegate work to care team members...