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    Physicians dream up a better EHR

    When the American Medical Association (AMA) last year announced study results that found physicians spend nearly half their office day entering data into electronic health records (EHRs) and handling other administrative deskwork, the organization said poorly designed EHRs were part of the problem.

    “If you were to start from scratch, you wouldn’t come up with the systems we have today,” said Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH, an associate professor of anesthesiology, surgery, biomedical informatics and health policy at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine who was elected to the American Medical Association Board of Trustees in 2014.

    The AMA developed a list of eight items it believes vendors need to improve or develop to make EHRs better for physicians and their staff.

    The list starts by saying systems should

    1.     enhance physicians’ ability to provide high-quality patient care;

    2.     support team-based care; and

    3.     promote care coordination.

    The AMA also asks vendors to

    4.     offer product modularity and configurability;

    5.     reduce cognitive workload;

    6.     promote data liquidity;

    7.     facilitate digital and mobile patient engagement; and

    8.     expedite user input into product design and post-implementation feedback.

    “If all vendors took these to heart, things would really improve,” Ehrenfeld said. “We want tools that help us provide high quality care and make the process of care easier and more efficient. Mobile technologies, voice recognition, imaging and sensing are all things we see in the world around us, but we don’t see that happening in the EHR space yet.”

    Next: Six ways EHRs could dramatically change how medicine is practiced



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