EMR Dissatisfaction and the Arch Collaborative - Cover

EMR Dissatisfaction and the Arch Collaborative

At Salford Royal, we got involved early in the Arch Collaborative, and we continue to participate. I firmly believe that as healthcare providers, we’re all in this together. The goal of the Collaborative is to facilitate collaboration, measurement, and shared learning around EMR usability, and it’s already begun to yield fruit.

As more provider organizations participate in the Collaborative, it becomes very clear: EMR dissatisfaction isn’t out of our control as healthcare organizations. We’re not helpless, and we can learn from each other.

Of course, measuring clinician satisfaction makes many an IT leader or CIO feel vulnerable. Many clinicians will give passionate, unfiltered comments. And no matter your organization, there will be areas where you fall short. The Arch Collaborative seeks to measure your organization alongside others to find out where success is, and where improvements need to happen.

We went into the Collaborative with no idea of where Salford Royal would fall in the benchmarking. I was so pleased when we found that Salford Royal was among the higher-performing organizations, an accomplishment I lay entirely upon the shoulders of our wonderful, dedicated clinicians and IT staff.

But EMR improvement isn’t a race against everybody else. We are racing ourselves and trying to set a new personal best. If Salford Royal does well, I can show our board the ROI on our investments in the clinician experience. In the areas where we struggle, I now know where to start taking action. No matter where you fall in peer benchmarking, the Arch Collaborative survey will help identify areas to improve.

Here are a few ways that the Collaborative has brought value to our organization and how it can help you too.

Perspective and Comparison

In the Collaborative, we see a level of peer-to-peer comparison that we don’t get anywhere else.

Every organization has things that are unique about it. That makes it hard to get effective advice from another provider organization. It can be difficult to do a direct comparison at the level of a hospital or even a health system. But the Arch Collaborative makes it easier to compare ourselves to other organizations.

101 provider organizations have participated so far. That creates a really big pool of data to draw on. Through measurement and benchmarking, we can quantify where we’re at and how we compare to the rest of the industry.

It’s nearly impossible to improve without measurement. The results of the Collaborative survey gave us somewhere to start. And, as I talk about below, we can look to our peer organizations that are excelling in certain areas for their knowledge and best practices. Those of us who excel ourselves can also share and help lift up the industry as a whole.

Targeted Insights

In the UK, including at Salford Royal, we have pretty limited resources; we can’t afford to waste time and money on ineffective efforts to improve the clinician experience with the EMR. This is true for healthcare organizations across the world. So, participating in the Arch Collaborative has been valuable because it’s helped us pinpoint the best places to direct our resources. We can see where we’re doing well and where we need to improve. Then we can quickly make the EMR more effective, usable, and efficient.

In the results of our survey, both our hits and our misses were helpful. For example, in the UK, we don’t use scribes, and it was nice to get confirmation from the Collaborative data that that practice doesn’t really make clinicians happier. But we also found areas to improve, like external integration, which has the potential to help clinicians and improve patient care in a big way.

Good results in specific areas show we have been doing a great job and makes our case for pushing IT improvements, policies, and investments—in all the areas that will make the biggest difference.

But nobody is doing great in every single area. The breadth of indicators in the AC means that we can catch those hidden problems and the things that hold us back. And surveying our clinicians year after year gives us tangible, measurable results that can be taken to our senior leadership to show our progress.

Even if you score well in all the key areas, you can take that data to your board to show the positive ROI you’re getting from your EMR. In a health system, every dollar -or in my case pound- spent has to count. An EMR costs a lot, so it’s huge to be able reassure leadership that the investment is worth it and show that we’re really succeeding.

Long-Term Growth and Improvement

With the Collaborative survey, we can see how effective our past efforts at improvement are—if we’ve been pushing for more follow-up education and our surveyed clinicians who get more education are happier and more engaged, that supports us in our efforts and helps us make an argument to dedicate more funds to EMR education.

Many of the indicators in the Collaborative survey need to be addressed by clinical leadership. The results can help CIOs make the case for investing in needed clinical leadership to help make improvements.

Looking to the future, even the smartest, most conscious organization is never really done optimizing their digital environment. Again, progress isn’t about beating other providers; it’s a race against ourselves to improve. That’s how innovation and big gains happen.


Salford Royal was one of the first organizations in the NHS to go digital over 15 years ago. All that experience has given us the change to adapt and learn organically.

But the landscape looks much different than it did 15 years ago. In the past, we had to go through a lot of trial and error on our own. With the help of the Collaborative, we can speed up the learning process. We see the gaps we have and learn from our peers how to fill those gaps.

The Arch Collaborative is the first time I have seen a local group of peers talking about improving their EMRs and working together. Participating on a long-term basis in the Collaborative puts me in contact with others like me and their vast knowledge. As we work regularly in webinars and other events with our peers and share our expertise, we build a community.

I believe that peer learning is the key to the future. We don’t make much progress by standing on a stage and talking at people. Having a collaborative group is really powerful.

I like to say that we are all peers taking a journey together toward better digital healthcare systems. Join with us to share what you know, get targeted insights just for you, and learn from your peers. Together, we really can drastically change the landscape of healthcare IT and lead our clinicians to EMR success.