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Improving The Physician’s Experience With EHRs: More Training Required

Physicians need at least three to five days of training on new electronic health record (EHR) systems to achieve the highest level of overall satisfaction, but nearly half of new users get three or fewer days of training, according to a survey.

AmericanEHR Partners surveyed physicians’ experiences with EHRs to achieve some meaningful use requirements. (The group is a web-based resource for EHR system selection/implementation developed by the American College of Physicians and Cientis Technologies).

AmericanEHR Partners used a 139-question online survey to collect data form physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants about their use and satisfaction with EHRs and health information technology. Survey data from more than 2,300 physicians in conjunction with five different professional societies was collected from April 2010 to July 2011. Results appeared at the group’s website.

There were 4,280 responses, an average response rate of 8.5%, though rates differed across professional societies. Of those who responded to the survey, 2,384 (54%) had an EHR system and completed the entire survey, and 69% of the surveys were received from physicians in practices of 10 or fewer clinicians.

Other key findings from the report include:
–Overall satisfaction with an EHR highly correlated with whether the respondent was involved in choosing the system.
–Ratings on ease of use for basic EHR functions required for meaningful use continued to improve with more than two weeks of training.
–Training of at least one week correlated with improvement in the reported usability of advanced EHR features such as checking patient formularies, importing medication lists and medication reconciliation.

The authors, which include staff from the American College of Physicians, wrote, “We were surprised to find that almost 50% of respondents received three or fewer days of training given the complexity of current EHR systems and the pressure to achieve [meaningful use]. The percentage of respondents reporting this low level of training was highest for individuals in practices of 11+ clinicians. It is possible that larger practices deploy other methods of ensuring clinicians receive appropriate EHR guidance, such as placement of coaches alongside clinicians after implementation in lieu of additional pre-implementation training.”

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*


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One Response to “Improving The Physician’s Experience With EHRs: More Training Required”

  1. Cynthia Bailey MD says:

    I picked my EHR as the owner of my small practice. We received a week of training and my experience with my EHR is far from positive.

    We were trained on an ‘out of the box’ system not properly configured, as promised by sales and my contract, for my specialty practice. Our training week thus was used to train us how to do the configuring promised by the company. Subsequent rolled-out training has been of poor quality and support rarely addresses our system glitches adequately. We just have to laugh because it’s otherwise painful.

    Add to this working daily with archaic software that allows only one window open at a time and loads all LCD tablet info (which is how I in derm document a physical exam, but also how we collect consent signatures and other documents) into one large folder that is rapidly becoming cluttered and the impact on my productivity is cut significantly. To find an old physical exam diagram I have to sift thru the mess and load one document at a time, no scrolling?! My system, by the way, is one of the best and biggest in the industry. It’s also the one I felt had the most interest in ongoing modification to meet the medical communities needs. Hmmm…

    Basically, EHRs are not ready for prime time, yet medical practitioners have been forced into them by Medicare’s reimbursement threats. We’re now adding to our job descriptions being the data entry tool to give ‘them’ the data they want to wrestle health care expenditures and craft new private sector industry strategies; data has significant monetary value and we’re sending them tons of it. They’ve got us medical types so darn busy just surviving our new EHR’s that talking about the big picture has to be put off until we start to gain some control over the disruption these new EHR’s are wreaking on our daily work lives.

    It’s a mess.

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