Physicians’ Love – Hate Relationship With the EHRs

ehr alternatives

Medical practitioners and physicians are using electronic health records (EHRs) and other such technology more than ever now. However, many physicians find EHRs far from perfect. A similar concern is shared by patients and families, even those who are becoming more tech-savvy.

A report from Stanford Medicine and aHarris Poll tells us that two-thirds (63%) of primary care practitioners (PCPs) think that EHRs have paved the way to improved care but they are only somewhat satisfied with their current system. About 70% believe that EHRs have improved over the past half a decade while 40% agree that there are way more challenges with EHRs than benefits.

Other interesting findings from the study show that 49% of office-based PCPs think that using an EHR reduces their clinical effectiveness because they are distracted. About 70% said that EHRs are one of the factors that contribute to physician burnout. Only 8% believe that the primary value of their EHR is clinically related. More than half of the practitioners are of the view that EHRs require an overhaul. 72% claimed that improving the user interface of EHRs could address the challenges of EHR in the near future. About 67% of respondents think that solving interoperability deficiencies should be the top priority for EHRs in the next ten years. Staggering 90% of physicians want the EHRs to be more intuitive and responsive.

It is clear that about 3% of PCPs don’t see their EHR as a valuable system. However, they do agree that this technology can put constraints on their time, add more to their administrative burdens, and can possibly hurt their relationship with the patients.

ehr systems

It is a Thin Line Between Love and Hate

As shown in the statistics above, a love-hate relationship with EHRs is not uncommon for practitioners but there are many who love their information technology. What kind of systems could win practitioners’ approval? It is one that could involve them and other physicians in its design, one which could easily gel in or integrate into their workflow and enable access to information without multiple steps, clicks, or searches, and finally, one that frees them for direct patient care. For example, features like a voice-to-text interface could be very useful. This can enable the practitioners to focus on their conversation with the patient while the system records all the necessary information. If medical libraries are built into the application to help ensure accuracy, that could be a game-changer.

Cyber Security Concerns

Physicians now frequently read about security breaches that have affected others or they have gone through personal experience. As practice managers, one of the most important decisions they have to make is to protect patient information as well as the organizations. Therefore, one appeal of a good EHR is a two-step verification process which ensures that if a laptop or another device is stolen or lost, the practitioners do not have to worry about patient information being accessed.

Addressing HIPAA and cybersecurity should be a part of orientation for new providers. As the stories about the health system and organization cyber breaches make headlines, patients and families are becoming more aware of the security issues. At the same time, patient-generated health data from remote or wearable devices also present new opportunities for security problems.

A study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public health demonstrated that a third of patients were very concerned about a data breach or that an unauthorized individual or entity will be able to access their private data. Only 26% said they were somewhat concerned. Some patients even expressed their concern that data from their health records may be used wrongly to deny them health insurance, benefits, or job opportunities.

As this awareness grows and more family members or patients ask providers about the security of information, the need to answer them satisfactorily has arisen. Physicians need to be prepared to have these conversations. One way to do that is to bring a device to meetings with a quick run-through of how the practice’s EHR works. This can put patients, family members, team leaders, and the facility’s new members at ease.

medcial security

Other Concerns with EHRs

A survey by iHealth Beat found that physicians have identified the following EHR-related concerns which lead to their dissatisfaction:

  • Increased electronic alerts and messages
  • Interference with clinical workflows
  • Interruption of face-to-face patient care
  • Time-consuming data entry
  • Lack of interoperability with outside providers

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But what is interoperability? It simply means sharing patient data amongst health systems. It has become the foundation in creating an effective plan for patient care delivery. Information like referrals, lab results, precautions etc. are needed right away to understand the patient and their needs better thus impacting the value of care.

Right now most EHRs lack interoperability which the healthcare providers are not happy with. Of course, it is challenging. However, there are solutions available that take care of all the issues that the physicians have with current EHRs. These solutions offer HIPAA compliance as well as fantastic interoperability for effective patient care. Hucu.ai is one such solution. 

To improve interoperability in healthcare, Hucu.ai provides a platform of easy messaging to seamlessly exchange information among the patient’s healthcare teams so that everyone is on the same page, at the same time, accessing the same information. 

What Hucu.ai Offers

Hucu’s motto is to simplify healthcare communication by offering a patient-centered secure messaging network for providers and payers. Hucu.ai not only offers HIPAA compliant messaging for just the organization but also allows practitioners to expand this capability to their partners in a patient-centered manner. It also can be integrated into the EHR to further improve staff’s efficiencies. It comes with built-in capability that streamlines communication across different staff working in different organizations but caring for the same patients. Hucu.ai can be integrated with any technology, for example:

  • Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) Devices and Solutions
  • Chronic Care Management (CCM) Solutions
  • Transitional Care Management (TCM) Solutions
  • EHR solutions
  • ADT/Bed Management
  • Laboratory Solutions
  • Radiology/Imaging Solutions
  • Scheduling Solutions
  • Practice Management Solutions
  • Billing Solutions
  • Alarm Notification Solutions
  • EMT Solutions
  • Nurse Call Solutions
  • Paging Services and Solutions
  • Answering Services and Solutions
  • Transportation Solutions
  • GPS / Geofencing Solutions
  • Active Directory/LDAP
  • Single Sign-On (SSO) 
  • Any other solutions using FHIR, HL-7 or API based integrations

To ensure that medical practitioners and physicians are not bombarded with alerts and messages, Hucu enables them to set their status as “available” or “busy” along with custom status messages.

 

Conclusion

It may take some time before EHR systems address the concerns shared by physicians and medical practitioners. However, until then, solutions like Hucu.ai are a stepping stone towards that ultimate goal. Fully scalable, this HIPAA-compliant telehealth marvel has already increased the operational efficiency of many medical facilities. Learn more about Hucu and how it can help your organization, here.

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