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Improve Your EHR Experience with Science

Are organizations able to move the needle and improve their end users’ EHR satisfaction?

Through the insights we’re collecting in the Arch Collaborative, we can say that the answer is yes. It is not only a chance that we are looking at here; there is a very high probability that your organization can experience significant improvements at a statistical level.

In our recently published “Science of Improving the EHR Experience” report, we share why some organizations saw the improvements they did and certain methods that proved to yield surprising results.

Benchmark EHR Satisfaction

It is no secret that the EHR has been a source of dissatisfaction for many providers. Organizations were often left to their own devices to try and solve this problem. Measuring the impact of EHR optimization initiatives, and comparing your situation to someone else’s was something that was lacking though. This meant that the users of this technology weren’t really given a wide-spread voice on the issue. So, we decided to seek their feedback and report it back to their leadership. Once we started to receive end-user feedback, executive leadership had no benchmark to gauge whether their EHR satisfaction scores were good or bad or how they compared with other similar health systems.

We realized that it was critically important to provide a benchmark on EHR satisfaction both to understand satisfaction ourselves and to help leadership understand the true sentiment within their organization. Now, after three years of measuring EHR satisfaction, we finally have enough data from organizations who have measured and remeasured multiple times to provide that initial benchmark and can report on how organizations are improving upon their baseline measurement.

Over Half of Organizations Improved

trending net ehr experience scores of repeat respondents

Our analysis of the data from these 26 organizations who have measured and remeasured has found promising and statistically significant results. As you can see in the accompanying chart, the 54% that we highlight are those that improved statistically speaking. The number of organizations that improved at all is actually higher than 54%. This is a positive indicator in my book—improvement is not random chance. Over half of all organizations that have remeasured have done something and seen a real improvement from their efforts. This is a big step in the right direction, and it is the first qualitative proof that improving EHR satisfaction among end users is possible and doable.

Who Saw the Most Improvement?

Organizations who identified a key problem from their first measurement and found a way to make it applicable to the end user often showed the largest net improvement. We saw various different solutions that drove results. For example, some organizations created additional support programs where employees were asked questions right after seeing their patients. In this way, organizations were able to gain the real-time insights that actually helped providers in their day-to-day workflow. Other healthcare organizations have increased their specialty-specific training.

When EHR training is primarily focused on family medicine and the workflow within family medicine, it can be difficult to apply that same content to a cardiologist's workflow. So, unsurprisingly, additional training options focusing specifically on those dissatisfied specialties helps increase provider satisfaction.

The common denominator between these various solutions and improving EHR satisfaction is focusing on the people rather than the technology. This happens when organizations are able to get beyond the idea that the EHR itself should be good enough by itself and focus instead on the users’ needs. In addition, the groups that saw the biggest increases in satisfaction were able to create trust between the leadership, the end users, and the vendors themselves to create an environment where everyone works collaboratively to solve problems.

Sprint Success

One kind of effort to educate users and improve EHR satisfaction was surprisingly successful: training sprint groups. Training sprints are attempts by organizations to target a specialty subgroup and hone in on their training for a short period of time, often up to two weeks.

Analysts and trainers would observe the providers as they work, planning time to develop individualized training for the providers and then giving one-on-one instruction. These sprints rarely involved technical changes at the time; rather, they focused primarily on workflow efficiency and increased personalization training.

We expected this type of effort to show positive results, but we were surprised at the effectiveness of this kind of training. Those sprints resulted in some of the highest satisfaction or the largest net increase that we saw in repeat measurements.

Help Us Keep Learning

To learn more about other methods health systems are using to improve EHR satisfaction, I recommend reading the report. We consider these findings to be groundbreaking. It is absolutely possible and likely for organizations to improve their user experience scores if they put in the effort.

We would love to continue to discover more about what EHR satisfaction looks like across many different organizations. To continually prove this model, we need to remeasure groups and continue to gather new measurements for groups for which we have less data. Prove for yourselves that you too can improve the usability, satisfaction and overall perception of the EHR at your own organization.

If your organization is interested in improving your clinician satisfaction, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. You can also learn more about the mission of the Arch Collaborative here.


     Photo Credit: Adobe Stock, Rido