90% of Doctors Concerned about Usability of EHR

Posted on June 26, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Today’s the final day for providing feedback on meaningful use to ONC. I find it a little bit ironic that as ONC and healthcare IT in general is stirring about the words “meaningful use” I find a survey by Nuance that shows that 90% of doctors are “concerned” about the usability of EHR.

This figure probably isn’t surprising to any of you out there that have worked in the EHR industry for a while. The usability of the EHR has been one of the big barriers to EHR implementation for quite some time.

I hope that no one is naive enough to think that requiring a bunch of features and reports to show “meaningful use” or “certified EHR” that we’re somehow going to make EHR software more usable. In fact, the opposite may be more likely.

I can just see in my minds eye a bunch of EHR programmers slapping in some half baked code in order to satisfy some “meaningful use” or “certified EHR” criteria. Yes, it probably will meet the criteria, but at what cost to the end user? I’ve very rarely known quickly created software to be very usable. Understanding and implementing usable software takes thoughtful planning to execute correctly. Someone who understands how to simplify the process while still implementing the necessary features.

In the rat race for EHR stimulus money, I predict that usability of EHR systems will actually decline rather than improve.