An analysis of a “time and motion” study of nearly 60 doctors in four U.S. states, published in the September 6 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, was revealing. The study showed for every hour a doctor spends with a patient, he or she spends two hours updating records. The electronic health record systems, intended to speed patient referrals and improve treatment, are contributing to doctor burnout and providing an unpleasant experience for doctor and patient. I wrote a lot about the problem in Health Attitude. Electronic health records (EHRs) are on of those things we can’t live with and can’t live without.
EHRs are critical to population health and population health is critical to reduce the cost of healthcare. With 10,000 people turning 65 every day and joining Medicare, we have to do something to get costs down. The EHR software vendors have done a very poor job, in my opinion, and the government has showed insufficient leadership to encourage standards. My primary care doctor retired in December. He used EHR software by Allscripts. My new primary care doctor is part of the hospital practice, which also uses Allscripts. I have been trying for months to move my health records from one to the other. Allscripts finally admitted the feature in the software does not work.