There's a love/hate relationship between physicians and electronic health records, according to a study of physician satisfaction by RAND Health.
In data gathered from 30 physician practices in six states, docs reported EHRs had both positive and negative effects on their satisfaction. For instance, while physicians like being able to remotely access patient information and cite improvements in quality of care attributable to EHR technology, many also said they are frustrated with issues including poor usability, time-consuming data entry, less time for face-to-face patient care and degradation of clinical documentation by trying to force it into structured fields.
Physicians also pointed out problems with information overload, as having more EHR functions--such as reminders, alerts, and messaging capabilities--was associated with lower professional satisfaction, according to the researchers.
Additionally, for some, EHRs were more expensive than expected, threatening the financial sustainability of their practices.
Still, primary care physicians, in particular, described how EHRs improved their ability to provide guideline-based care and track patients' markers of disease control over time.
In larger practices, doctors mentioned how having everyone on the same EHR system improved between-provider communication.