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    EHRs have a positive impact on patient care, physicians say

     

    The majority of physicians believe electronic health records (EHRs) have a positive impact on patient care, according to a recent survey.

    Athenahealth’s 2013 Physician Sentiment Index showed that 68% of physicians believe EHRs somewhat or significantly improve patient care, while only 17% believe that they worsen care. The survey, conducted in March 2013, used Athenahealth’s Epocrates physician member base. The 1, 200 respondents included both independent and hospital-employed primary care physicians and specialists.

    The findings support what patients have said in similar surveys. In Aeffect Inc.’s EMR Patient Impact Study, the majority of patients using EHRs reported feeling more satisfied with their quality of care and with their access to their health information.

    But despite the positive impact to patient care, EHRs still pose ongoing challenges to physicians’ workdays. In fact, the dissatisfaction is so prominent that multiple market surveys show one in five physicians may switch from their current EHR system to another vendor. Physicians report frustration from their EHR’s ability to decrease their workload and their system’s ease of use.

    The Athenahealth survey may lend additional insight as to why some physicians are unhappy. Nearly half of those surveyed said they feel EHR systems were not designed with physicians in mind. It also revealed that more than half (51%) of physicians do not believe that the financial benefits of EHRs outweigh the costs.

    But the good news for patients is of those physicians, 55% feel that the benefits to the patient outweigh the expense.

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