Electronic Medical Record Survey Results: Medscape Exclusive Readers' Choice

Leslie R. Kane, MACC


October 06, 2009

In This Article


The best advice on choosing the right electronic medical record (EMR) system comes from physicians who are using one, who know what's good or bad about it, and now -- perhaps sadder but wiser -- either recommend or regret their choice. To help you learn from other physicians' experiences and avoid making mistakes, Medscape surveyed readers to get their opinions on the EMRs that they have used. We also asked readers to rate their EMRs on 12 key features:

  • Ease of data entry;

  • Overall ease of use;

  • Reliability;

  • Easy to learn;

  • Vendor training program;

  • Vendor customer support;

  • Ease of EMR implementation;

  • Interactivity with other office systems;

  • Value for the money;

  • Physician satisfaction;

  • Staff satisfaction; and

  • Patient satisfaction.

More than 3700 readers responded to the survey. The EMRs that readers evaluated included Allscripts, Epic, Misys (now Allscripts), Centricity, e-MDs, eClinicalWorks, Practice Partner, Sage, Greenway, Amazing Charts, and others. Epic was the most used EMR among physicians responding (11.3%), followed by Allscripts (9.1%), Centricity (7.0%), e-MDs (5.2%), NextGen (4.6%), eClinicalWorks (4.0%), and others (see Table 2 of article). Misys (2.7%) joined with Allscripts in 2008; their combined usage would put Allscripts in the number-one spot. Many respondents use a variety of less well-known EMRs, including some custom-made systems. Amazing Charts, an EMR for small practices, garnered an enthusiastic rating, with 100% of its users recommending it. By contrast, only 53.8% of physician users would recommend Cerner. Of note, all physicians using Amazing Charts were in practices with 1 or 2 physicians. Cerner, which scored lowest, was used primarily by physicians in hospitals and large groups.

It should be noted that an EMR that is right for one physician's practice may not be the right choice for you, and vice versa. Medscape's survey also brought out intriguing information about EMR cost per physician, physician practice size and EMR use, length of time physicians researched before buying, whether those who dislike their EMRs plan to make a switch, and how long the implementation process took. Readers also gave insightful -- and in some cases, emotional -- advice for physicians considering an EMR. Keep reading for more details about physicians' EMR choices.

Who Answered the Survey?

More than 3700 Medscape readers answered the 16-question survey, which was posted and available on Medscape from April through July 2009. Respondents included 1800 physicians, 516 nurses/advanced practice nurses, 61 physician assistants, 167 medical students, 659 other healthcare providers, 393 pharmacists, 43 individuals in health business/administration, and approximately 65 others. Physician responders worked in these specialties: family medicine -- 10.9%; internal medicine -- 10.1%; emergency medicine -- 7.4%; pediatrics -- 7.3%; psychiatry/mental health -- 6.8%; surgery, general -- 6.2%; anesthesiology -- 6.0%; gastroenterology -- 4.6%; ophthalmology -- 3.8%; pathology -- 3.3%; infectious diseases -- 3.1%; dermatology -- 3.1%. Specialties with less than 3% respondents included vascular surgery, pulmonary medicine, critical care, neonatal/perinatal medicine, cardiology, and others. Where did the physician respondents work? The majority (38.9%) were employed in hospitals; the second largest segment were in a group practice (26.0%); about a fifth (19.6%) were in solo practice; 5.1% of respondents worked in a public clinic; and 10.4% checked "other," which included a VA hospital, academic institution, and being retired.


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