Let's Engage Today - Cover

Let's Engage Today

The EHR represents a problem for most healthcare organizations. It drives burnout. Moreover, half of physicians don’t believe their EHR helps them deliver better care.

We all want the same thing—to fix this problem. The question is this: how do we fix it?

In my experience, the discussion of how to fix EHR-related burnout typically comes down to two main strategies.

Strategy 1:

We should make the EHR easier to use:

  • Implement tools like ambient voice recognition so that physicians barely have to touch the EHR;
  • Bring in scribes;
  • Say hello to Google Glass.

For obvious reasons, this strategy is extremely popular—there appears to be no downside. We think, “If we just wait, technology will fix this technology mess.”

Strategy 2:

We should change how we practice medicine in order to leverage the power of the EHR and information technology. Of course, this option is messy.

Instead of primarily focusing on reducing the physician’s pain in using the EHR, we should focus on improving care delivery and the value of the EHR for revolutionizing care. Physicians engage deeply with today’s EHRs to maximize value to the customer (the patient).

Can’t We Have Both? 

After collecting the perspectives of over 20,000 physicians and more than 30,000 other clinicians, we found that the most deeply invested clinicians are the most satisfied with their EHR. The most satisfied clinicians are typically those with more patient visits, those who do not use scribes, and those who put in more hours.

We also found that when we compare Epic users’ PEP data to our Arch Collaborative data (we’re working on doing the same with other EHR vendors), the time spent in the EHR per patient is not a predictor of satisfaction. Crazy!

Perhaps boosting clinician satisfaction within the EHR is not all about decreasing pain. Maybe we will get both better technology and improved workflows if we focus on teamwork within our EHRs alongside revolutionary ways to deliver medicine. Perhaps as physicians better master this new tool, they will become more pleased with their jobs, their work, and their outcomes.

I am not against using new technologies like ambient voice to solve our problems—I even welcome regulatory and payer reform. Changes like these will likely help ease clinicians’ burdens.

However, there is plenty of work to do in the meantime. Let’s engage.

Photo Cred: Shutterstock, Yaroslav Kazakov