Can You Make Your EHR Less Annoying?

Paul Cerrato

Disclosures

November 20, 2018

In This Article

Technology Versus Time With Patients

Countless physicians complain that they spend so much time in front of their computers inputting information that they have little time to interact with patients. This issue continues to frustrate physicians as they try to come to grips with the digital age of electronic health records (EHRs), e-prescribing, and smartphones.

Still, there are several potential solutions, including medical transcribing services and scribes. Here are the pros and cons of each.

Priority One: Improve Your Workflow

A recent study[1] of 142 family medicine doctors found that they spend more than half their time each day—about 6 hours—interacting with EHRs. That additional workload has probably contributed to the growing number of physicians taking early retirement, or simply burning out.

Clinicians have to spend so much time entering information into their EHRs because these electronic tools were not initially designed to fit seamlessly into the clinical workflow; they were designed to facilitate the billing process. And in recent years, EHRs have also been reworked to meet the long list of requirements needed to meet the former meaningful use, which has slowed down physicians even further.

Matthew Mintz, MD, an internist in Bethesda, Maryland, drove home the point, telling Medscape, "The problem is not EHRs. The problem is what they are used for. EHRs should be used for documentation and communication with patients, and can be utilized to streamline other functions, such as e-prescribing. The problem is that EHRs are not designed and in many cases are not used for these principal functions, but rather for billing and meaningful use."

"Because of the way medicine bills and is reimbursed, the only way to capture data to either create documents that support higher coding and/or demonstrate meaningful use/MIPS [Merit-based Incentive Payment System], et cetera, for incentive reimbursement is through lots of clicks," Mintz continued. He has solved this problem for himself by setting up a noninsurance, membership/direct primary care practice and using an EHR product called Elation, which he says eliminates the billing requirements built into most commercially available EHRs and focuses on the clinical aspects of documentation.

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