Hospitals, doctor's offices have differing issues with electronic records

The American Medical Association has voiced concerns about Electronic Health Records software usability.
By Amy Wallace  |  July 5, 2017 at 1:23 PM
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July 5 (UPI) -- A new study by Brown University has found that maintaining electronic health records, or EHRs, may undermine the connection between physicians and patients.

Federal Meaningful Use standards have expanded the amount of information doctors are required to capture electronically.

However, the American Medical Association has voiced concerns about EHR software usability and other studies have shown that physicians are experiencing burnout from having to meticulously fill out EHRs.

"Physicians who are burnt out provide lower-quality care," Dr. Rebekah Gardner, an associate professor of medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School and a senior medical scientist with Healthcare Advisors, said in a press release.

Researchers at Brown, in conjunction with Healthcentric Advisors, analyzed responses by 744 doctors who took a 2014 Rhode Island Department of Health survey on the affects of EHRs.

Some of the findings of the study, which was published July 5 in the Journal of Innovation in Health Informatics, showed that office-based physicians typically bring their computers into the examination room adding to the feeling of separation and depersonalization with patients.

Conversely, hospital physicians reported typically performing their record keeping duties outside the exam room, but still reported issues with having enough time to spend with patients as a negative of the EHRs.

Some physicians have tried to minimize the impact on patient care by doing EHRs at home after hours, which could contribute to burnout.

On the positive side, some doctors reported that EHRs make it easier to call up a patient's medical history and that web-based patient portals improve communication with patients.

"What this speaks to is that we, as physicians, need to demand a rethinking of how quality is measured and if we're really getting the quality we hoped when we put in EHRs," Gardner said. "There are unintended consequences of measuring quality as it's currently being done."

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