EHR Usability, Functionality Top Concerns for Half of Hospitals

Jennifer Bresnick | Health IT Interoperability | August 3, 2016

Community hospitals continue to struggle to get their electronic health records to work and communicate the way they need them to, according to a new report from peer60, with EHR usability, limited functionality, and poor interoperability driving nearly 20 percent of survey respondents into a search for a replacement EHR. In an era of healthcare that requires organizations to master the complex process of creating EHR documentation that is accurate, comprehensive, easy to exchange, and simple to integrate into a patient’s longitudinal health record, the fact that 54 percent of hospitals are unhappy with the usability of their EHRs is sadly telling of a difficult marketplace.

Demand for intuitive, productivity-boosting electronic health records continues to be high as hospitals push deeper into Stage 2 meaningful use and stare down the barrel at the high thresholds included in the proposed criteria for Stage 3.  While more than half of the 277 community hospitals participating in the poll said they had successfully attested to the second phase of the EHR Incentive Programs, and a further 36 percent are in the process of attesting, hospitals across the spectrum continue to face a number of fundamental problems with their EHRs.

At the top of that list are EHR usability and functionality, both of which are critical for hospitals that hope to develop robust health information exchange networks with their business partners and peers.  Without an EHR that makes sense from a clinical point of view, users will have difficulty integrating external patient data into their workflows, and may suffer from communication bottlenecks. Nearly thirty percent of respondents said that their current EHRs do not support their strategic objectives...