Electronic Health Records

Adoption & Implementation News

35% of EHR users will increase investment in patient portals

By Jennifer Bresnick

Providers who don’t yet have a patient portal are likely to purchase or upgrade one in 2014, finds a new survey by Software Advice.  Thirty-five percent of EHR users are investing more in their patient engagement infrastructure in 2014 than they did the previous year, while the majority of providers will maintain their levels of investment when it comes to EHRs, billing and scheduling, and e-prescribing.  However, just a quarter of providers stated that their EHR systems provide highly satisfactory patient engagement abilities.

In general, providers are still using desktop computers to access their EHRs, but mobile devices are gaining in popularity.  Nearly 70% use laptops, while 35% routinely use tablets and 20% browse their records on smartphones.  Whatever the method used to log in, 87% of providers believe their EHRs provide easy access to information and a similar number think that electronic records provide more legible and/or more robust data than paper files.  Users also approved of how well EHRs deliver drug interaction alerts, billing data, and lab value alerts, while fewer providers were satisfied with population health management features and care coordination abilities.

But some very common challenges remain.  Slowed productivity and frustration with a lack of interoperability topped the list of provider gripes.  More than half thought productivity challenges had a major or moderate effect on their workflow, while others complained of poor customization options, a steep learning curve, high costs, and system bugs.  Encouragingly for CMS and the ONC, relatively few providers cited achieving meaningful use as a major challenge.

Dissatisfaction with EHRs continues to drive a lucrative replacement market for vendors as providers continue to seek systems that can adequately address their increasingly complex needs.  “What we are hearing increasingly from healthcare leaders is dissatisfaction with their existing EHR systems, often citing cost and difficulty of use,” said Premier, Inc. COO Michael J. Alkire in response to his company’s research indicating continued growth in the health IT market over the next few years.  “Providers need a solution that integrates clinical, financial and operational data across their hospitals and health systems; the majority of EHR systems cannot do that.”

Overall, 72% of providers in the Software Advice survey rated their EHR systems as acceptably satisfactory, but some vendors stood well above their competitors when it came to user satisfaction.  McKesson-owned products, branded under the names Medisoft and Lytec, produced 100% satisfaction rates, along with IOS Medios.  Other top ten vendors included Amazing Charts, AllMeds, Practice Fusion, and ChartLogic.

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