EMRs: Not ready for prime time?

Thanks everyone for your comments on my piece on EMRs earlier this week.

It’s interesting to follow the ensuing discussion around the blogosphere, and there were a few comments that caught my eye. Like this one:

Most of these computerized record systems are not ready for prime time! They have major faults – it can often take significantly more time to complete an electronic record than to dictate the same visit, dictated records often contain more nuanced information and explanations, and it is often harder to find information, at least in the system I am forced to use.

They are not as user friendly as the claim to be. Doctors are being forced to do jobs they were not trained to do, such as being the transcriptionist and billing and procedure coder.

Doctors are salaried; we are not paid by the hour. Pay us by the hour and either they will eliminate electronic records because of the extra time we need to complete them or they will be forced to invent more user friendly systems. I WANT MY PAPER CHARTS BACK!!!!

It takes a good year or two for doctors to be comfortable with an electronic record system. During that time, it takes significantly longer per patient visit.

When doctors are paid per encounter, that affects both their salary and the clinic’s revenue stream.

I wonder indeed if doctors were paid by hour, would they be more accepting of the technology? I suspect so.

As it stands, today’s EMRs are nowhere near ready for widespread use. Those wanting nationwide adoption need to realize doctors need a more polished, user-friendly product first.

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