EMR Satisfaction - A Fool's Errand? - Cover

EMR Satisfaction - A Fool's Errand?

Coming hot off the heels of HIMSS 18, we at KLAS are all looking forward to the rest of the year. It’s always an eye-opening experience for us to discuss the future of HIT face to face with the movers and shakers of the industry.

We had just such an opportunity during a focus group of CIOs this past week. If you’ll allow me to pull back the curtain, I’d love to tell you a little about the focus group’s conversation surrounding our ongoing study—the Arch Collaborative—into EMR usability.

When I asked these CIOs whether any of their end-user clinicians were satisfied overall with their EHR, a total of zero hands went up. When I asked whether any of them believe that, within 4–5 years, they could get to a place where their clinicians were satisfied, one hand rose.

They then expressed to me that EMR satisfaction would not—in fact could not—be solved until the EMR was as user friendly as Google or Apple’s iOS.

Later when speaking with a group of CMIOs, I asked, “Did you know that there are organizations out there with highly satisfied EMR users?” If skeptical stares were worth money, I could’ve retired last Thursday.

But it’s true! The single biggest discovery coming out of the Arch Collaborative so far is “Yes, satisfied EMR users do exist!” More than that, there are entire organizations with a majority of their clinicians who are satisfied using their EMR.

Knowing that someone out there has been successful in making the EMR usable is the first step in fixing the problem. Now, knowing the “who,” we can look at what they’re doing to discover the “how.”

I wondered why we weren’t hearing more from these successful organizations until a coworker of mine shared this story:

“When I proposed to my wife, I went all out. We took a 3-day trip to the beach, where I proposed on the cliffside at sunset, overlooking the white sands near her favorite city. It was picturesque, but we don’t talk about it all that often. Most of our social circle got married when we were in college and poor.

For them, the proposal was nothing fancier than a picnic in the park. So, when the conversation turns to us, we downplay the experience because well, nobody wants to sound conceited.”

While not nearly so romantic, I think we’ve seen something similar happen in healthcare. Sure, we may not find a “fairytale” EMR experience, but there absolutely are organizations who have daily success. Still, it’s not exactly in vogue to raise your hand and say, “We’re doing really well with our EMR, and the clinicians love it!”

This of course raises the question: who are these satisfied organizations? Well, among the 90+ organizations we’ve worked with so far, the Northwest region of Kaiser Permanente reported a Net EMR Experience score of 88. (Note: the Net EMR Experience score measures satisfaction in a manner similar to the net promoter score.) It makes sense, I think, that a large organization from Kaiser has high satisfaction since Kaiser has a reputation for being ahead of the curve.

It’s enlightening, then, to know that the organization we’ve encountered with the second-highest rate of satisfaction is Greater Hudson Valley Health System, a community-based organization.

In terms of organization size and resources, chances are your organization falls somewhere in between these two ends of the healthcare spectrum. And that is good news because along with these two organizations, we’re encountering more and more providers of all shapes and sizes who report high satisfaction among their users. These organizations have become leaders in the Arch Collaborative from whom the rest of us can pull best practices and innovative strategies to improve our own situations.

To those in the midst of HIT-induced physician burnout, the Arch Collaborative brings hope. We know things can get better because we’re learning from the organizations who’ve succeeded. It’s a far cry from the “everybody’s EMR is failing” message that seems so popular today. We know we’re going against the grain by saying this, but almost regardless of your vendor, your clinicians can have a satisfying, successful EMR experience.

If you’d like to learn more, reach out to me at ArchCollaborative@klasresearch.com.