December 3, 2018
In a recent 2018 survey conducted by Deloitte involving 624 primary and specialty care physicians in the U.S., a lack of interoperability and the burden of documentation were cited as the top EHR pain points. This shouldn't be too surprising for those keeping up on the developments of HIT, including advances with EHR systems in an effort to reach a workable state of interoperability.
As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, interoperability has become the new focus for vendors, the government, and healthcare organizations throughout the industry. With acute care facilities reaching near 100% EHR adoption rates, interoperability is a natural step in the evolution of HIT; post-acute healthcare EHR adoption and streamlining HIT workflows have become the next focus.
Streamlining HIT workflows includes improving how physicians are able to document and use EHRs with patient visits, as well as improving the accessibility and visibility of patient information throughout their health care journeys (including with mobile capabilities).
An article on Healthcare Informatics called: "Physicians Cite Lack of Interoperability, Documentation Burden as Top EHR Pain Points", written on September 12th, 2018 by Heather Landi, explains more:
"The survey results indicate that lack of interoperability and ease of use continue to be big pain points with EHR systems. When asked what changes they would make to their current EHR system, 62 percent of respondents cited 'making the current system more interoperable' and 58 percent would like to improve their EHR's capability to easily add patient visit information."
Involving Physicians with EHR Improvements
Part of the problem healthcare organizations are experiencing with efforts to improve EHR systems is to not involve the physicians enough in the process; at least, this is part of what the report revealed, as the article explains:
"With regard to EHR technology, the survey results suggest that at best, physicians perceive themselves as passive participants in EHR optimization efforts and, at worst, they feel ignored. Just one-third of physicians surveyed (34 percent) say their organization or EHR vendor sought their feedback on EHR enhancements..."
When only one-third of physicians are involved in EHR optimization efforts, it's no wonder only 10 percent were satisfied with their EHR systems, according to the report. These results show that EHR vendors and healthcare organizations are missing the opportunity to gain valuable insights into exactly what areas need to be focused on for overall HIT improvements.
Documentation Burdens and Patient Information Sharing
The article explains:
"Documentation is the number one area where physicians see opportunities for efficiencies, according to the survey."
Essentially, what physicians need is the ability to streamline their workflows, including more fluid ways to document patient visits, share patient information within and outside of their healthcare organizations, and accomplish administrative functions with more ease.
Standardizing input and documentation methods across merged organizations and utilizing innovative methods such as natural language processing tools are the type of specific solutions being slowly implemented, as well as AI and robotic process automation.The Fast Healthcare Interoperability (FHIR) standard is also helping streamline workflows with standard interoperable solutions within and outside of healthcare organizations.
With EHRs in place within nearly all acute care facilities, physicians, EHR vendors, and healthcare organizations are now focusing on finding workable solutions for streamlining workflows and sharing patient information with secure methods.
This recent industry report from Deloitte reveals what hinders physicians in their daily workflows, thus giving thought leadership valuable insight into what areas to focus on for EHR and overall HIT improvements. While a lack of interoperability and documentation burdens shouldn't surprise anyone, maybe the revealed lack of physician involvement with EHR optimization will bring a needed shift in how EHR vendors and healthcare organizations approach future upgrades.