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    Need to create doctor-friendly technology is more important than ever

    With the rollout of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), technology companies are already in the process of developing new software tools to help physicians record and report quality measures required by the law.


    Related: Health IT creates lose-lose situation for physicians


    But experts say developers need to learn from the mistakes made by electronic health record (EHR) designers and focus on creating user-friendly products or else risk contributing to the rising levels of physician burnout in the same way EHRs have done.

    “Interest is high for digital tools, but the EHR experience shows the need to better understand physician motivations,” says Michael Tutty, Ph.D., group vice president, professional satisfaction & practice sustainability for the American Medical Association (AMA).

    Tutty, along with Richard Deem, senior vice president of advocacy for AMA, presented their views on technology and its potential impact on how physicians will navigate MACRA at the HIMSS17 Conference in Orlando, Florida. Both emphasized the need for technology vendors to learn from EHR development mistakes and build on the positives.

    He cited statistics that show a rising level of burnout among doctors, with 54% reporting at least one symptom of burnout in 2014, up from 46% in 2011. While there are many contributing factors, frustration with EHRs is one of the leading culprits, with doctors losing time and money because of poorly designed interfaces that don’t match their workflow or do not provide the patient information they need in an efficient manner.


    Further reading: Top tips for protecting a practice from hackers


    Tutty pointed out that for a technology to be successful, it needs to demonstrate how it makes doctors more efficient and fits within their existing technology systems, including linking to their EHR and securing the data flowing through it. Creating more technology that takes time away from providing quality care from patients is not what’s needed and can be avoided.

    Next: Moving from fee-for-service to value-based care 

    Todd Shryock
    Todd Shryock, contributing author


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