A growing number of physician practices are using electronic health record (EHR) systems, mostly because of federal legislation and incentives around Meaningful Use as well as MIPS/MACRA. In fact, MIPS compliance is measured by a “MIPS Composite Performance Score”, which is comprised of four sections including EHR Use with a weight of 25%. However, the American Medical Association has admitted that some EHRs “get in the way of patient care” mostly because they are not user friendly.

In fact, some funny healthcare tweets were recently published and tweeted from @texmed
“overheard at a #AMAmeeting: #EHR really stands for “entering hell rapidly”.

You may recall in my physician survey article last month, 71% of physicians surveyed said that EHRs have had no impact or a negative impact on their productivity and patient interaction. However, there are some physicians who say that EHRs have improved the care of their patients and in a safer, more time-efficient manner. Some believe that using a certified EHR, helps them demonstrate MU and they are able to obtain the financial incentives offered by Medicare and Medicaid quicker. Also, the government encourages EHR usage and offers incentives for their use.

The goals of EHRs were more accuracy, fewer errors, better reimbursement, more time for face-to-face patient care, as well as increased data transparency and sharing. While some of that seems to be a reality, issues surrounding interoperability continue to make a negative impact.

According to The Health Information Technology Policy Committee (a federal advisory committee to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT focused on health information technology policy) Interoperability is defined as the ability of two or more systems to exchange information and the ability of those systems to use the information that has been exchanged without special effort.

The advisory committee in their recent study, acknowledged that some of the barriers to interoperability are the lack of universal adoption of standards-based EHR systems, the complex privacy and security challenges associated with widespread health information exchange and the resistance from some EHR vendors who continue to prevent interoperability with other vendors. They note that vendors haven’t been sufficiently incentivized to make EHR interoperability a key capability, which is why its development has lagged.

EHRs have come a long way, but for a variety of reasons, they have not yet attained the lofty goal of universal acceptance by all in the healthcare community.