WBB's Thought Leadership

National Physician Organization Demands EHR Overhaul

September 27

The AMA describes current EHR systems as poorly designed and implemented, and responsible for consuming over 50% of physician time.

The American Medical Association (AMA) report describes primary care physicians spending nearly six hours of an average 11.4-hour workday, and list eight principles that EHR technologies must address in order to be supportive of clinical operations.

Excerpt: “Primary care physicians spend more than half of their workday typing data on a computer screen and completing other EHR tasks, according to new research from the University of Wisconsin and the American Medical Association.
“Researchers gleaned their findings from EHR event logs. Confirmed by direct observation data, they found that during a typical 11.4-hour workday, primary care physicians spent nearly six hours on data entry and other tasks with EHR systems. The study was published in the Annals of Family Medicine.”
“An overhaul of EHR systems is needed to address the lack of actionable data for patient care; convoluted workflows that take time away from patients; and long hours added to difficult clinical days just to complete quality reporting and documentation requirements. The AMA is calling for the implementation of eight priorities for improving EHR usability, calling for a reframing the design and configuration of EHR technology to emphasize the following priorities:
• Enhance physicians' ability to provide high-quality patient care
• Support team-based care
• Promote care coordination
• Offer product modularity and reconfigurability
• Reduce cognitive workload
• Promote data liquidity
• Facilitate digital and mobile patient engagement
• Expedite user input into product design and post-implementation feedback

“The AMA said it recognizes that many of the recommendations can only be implemented in the long-term due to vendor product development life-cycles, limitations of current legacy systems and existing contracts, regulations and institutional policies.
“‘However, there is a great sense of urgency to improve EHRs because every patient encounter and the physician’s ability to provide high-quality care is affected by the current state of usability,’ AMA writes in its call for action.”

Source: Healthcare IT News
WBB Take: The design and implementation of EHR systems following the incentives in the CMS Meaningful Use (MU) program often resulted in poor outcomes that showed a lack of planning, poor alignment with organizational vision and goals, and ineffective use of quality improvement and organizational change management.
Many organizations adopted EHR systems because it was a current fad, the availability of “free money”, or the fear of reduced rates for Medicare/Medicaid patients. As a result, many healthcare professionals (HCP) were burdened by EHR systems that poorly matched their needs, workflow that was layered on top of existing clinical and administrative processes, and had no input into the generation of requirements or the configuration of the systems.
Many HCPs are now disillusioned, and do not see a future in which computerization will be anything but a burden.
However, there is an opportunity to optimize the EHR experience by revisiting what the organizational goals are, obtain clinician input and participation in performing systems re-design, and either reconfiguring or replacing underperforming EHR systems.

Cited by Matthew Loxton



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