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Despite Incentives, Physicians Not Keen on EHRs

The $27 billion government experiment to incentivize physicians to convert to EHRs has not been worth it, according to nearly 70% of physicians surveyed.

In fact, a national survey of nearly 1,000 physicians shows widespread dissatisfaction related to the functionality and cost of these patient record systems. About 45% of physicians believe patient care is actually worse as a result of adopting EHR technology, two-thirds would not purchase their current EHR system again, and 43% of physicians say these systems have resulted in significant financial losses. In addition, the current state of technology has not improved the coordination of care with hospitals, physicians said.

The survey, conducted for Medical Economics from November to December 2013 by The MPI Group, a third-party research firm, netted 967 respondents with an approximate +/-3.2% margin of error.

The survey results corroborate national reports from the RAND Corp. in 2013 chiding the HIT market for creating systems that interfere with patient-doctor communication, are cumbersome to use, time-consuming for physicians to enter data, and don't communicate well with hospital systems or other physicians. All of these factors are contributing to professional dissatisfaction.

Results from the Medical Economics survey include the following:

Georgiann DeCenzo, executive vice president of Advanstar Medical Communications Group, a health care media division that includes Medical Economics, says, "These results showcase a major disconnect between the goals of the government's EHR incentive program for providers, and the implementation of these systems. Physicians are giving the health care information technology sector valuable insight on their customers' preferences, and vendors should factor this into their future development plans."

Source: Medical Economics