“Our EMR is So Slow”

Posted on September 1, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 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.

Many of you might remember my recent post about EMR Performance Issues (ie. EMR Slowness). Turns out, the post had a pretty big impact on some readers of the site. In fact, it sounds like it was partially therapeutic for some to realize that they’re not alone.

I asked permission to share one of the responses with you so you could get some more first hand perspective on the issue of EMR slowness. I share it in the hopes that others can be aware and avoid it. Plus, I hope the EHR vendors that read this will take it to heart and be fanatically focused on EMR speed and customer support.

I’ve removed the name of the writer and the names of the vendors. Plus, realize that it was written originally in an email communication and not necessarily to be published.

OMG…you hit the nail on the head with this post. Our EMR is so slow. It often takes minutes between pages. My clinical and front office staffs so frustrated. We have had nothing but finger pointing going on ever since.

Part of the issue is the interface between our practice management system VENDOR A and our EMR VENDOR B It takes a minimum of 3-4 minutes for data entered into VENDOR A to roll into VENDOR B. My front office staff has taken to entering the data twice, once in each program in order to get our patients registered timely. When you see 80-100 patients in a day, a few minutes makes all the difference.

Additionally, certain criteria does not roll over, namely email addresses. This makes it impossible for us to send out patient visit summaries thus we are unable to meet meaningful use for that criteria. Referring physician is another part that does not roll over.

The most frustrating part is that no one will take any responsibility for the issue much less work on fixing it. These two vendors spend all day playing the blame game. Fortunately for our practice, we have a wonderful IT company that we work with. Our IT specialist has spend countless hours trying to mediate between these two vendors. Most times he just fixes what he can but we are paying for his services in addition to the tech support agreement with VENDOR A and VENDOR B.

A perfect example happened this week when the EMR went down in one of our exam rooms.. First we spend at least 10-20 minutes on hold waiting for a VENDOR B tech to pick up the call. In this particular case, they worked remotely for at least 4 hours on this one computer only to tell us they could not fix it.

I called my IT guy and he fixed it within 10 minutes. My staff spends countless hours on the phone most days trying to keep the system up and running. We are in the process of replacing all our PCs and I recently upgraded our Internet to a 10×10 fiber service however we still are not seeing any difference in speed.

It is at least comforting to know we are not alone. I plan to hang up your post for all my staff to see. It may not make our system work faster but hopefully it will give them some comfort knowing they are not alone.

Thanks for all the great information.