How Health Information Technology Is Failing to Achieve Its Full Potential

A recent study conducted by the RAND Corporation investigated factors that most influence physician satisfaction.1 Many physicians I know expected the findings to include the usual complaints one might see in opinion editorials and press releases from major professional organizations, such as “falling Medicare reimbursement,” “increased regulations,” or “malpractice reform.”

The first main finding that affected professional satisfaction was quality of care. If physicians felt that conditions impaired their ability to provide high-quality care, they were unhappy. The second major cause of dissatisfaction, and perhaps the more significant one, was electronic health records (EHRs). In general, physicians approved of them and liked the idea of checking data remotely. They thought EHRs had the potential to someday improve patient care, but the following litany of complaints against them was long enough to be comical1: They were hard to use. They were time consuming. They interfered with face-to-face communication with patients. They were inefficient. They made work less fulfilling. They could not exchange information with other sources. Many physicians claimed that EHRs even made documentation worse.

That’s me in JAMA Pediatrics. The Viewpoint is entitled, “How Health Information Technology Is Failing to Achieve Its Full Potential“, and I hope you’ll go read the rest!


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