Doctors Demand Extreme EHR Makeover ... Right Now

Bernie Monegain | Healthcare IT News | April 10, 2017

Electronic health record vendors are making the software more user-friendly, but not nearly fast enough.

Just about every week or so there’s a new report chronicling doctors’ frustrations with electronic health records. Drill down a bit and the source of discontent becomes clear: poor usability, clunky interfaces, ineffective search and too many clicks. So what would actually make doctors like their EHR? “They need a tremendous makeover with lots of clinical input to make it easy to do not only the right thing, but the things you do all the time,” said Robert Wachter, MD, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

Charles Webster, MD

Wachter said that a makeover would include injecting next-generation EHRs with the ability to bolt on new applications that solvespecific problems, including an advanced search function, easier copy-and-paste functionality as well as customizable views. But Charles Webster, MD, said what doctors want most is an EHR that fits with their workflow, not disrupts it. Webster is president of EHR Workflow and his response is on point with widespread aggravations many physicians are expressing.

What they really want, it seems, is efficient workflow – that enables them to spend less time wrangling with the software and more time focusing on patients. “The workflow of even workflow-oblivious systems can be tweaked and made marginally better,” Webster said. “However, at some point, the effort and cost of straining toward more automatic, transparent and flexible workflow within systems not specifically designed to make that possible, will be greater than the resulting improvements.”...