Penn Medicine launches initiative to make EHRs better for physicians

The University of Pennsylvania Health System wants to make electronic health records (EHR) easier to use for doctors working in clinical settings.

Penn Medicine recently launched its initiative to “transform” EHRs by making them smarter, streamlined and more interactive—with the ultimate goal of easing the work of clinicians, expediting care and creating the best patient outcomes.

“Everything that shapes patient care should be designed to support the best possible outcomes. Electronic health records are a natural focus because they connect to everything we do,” Penn Medicine Chief Executive Officer Ralph Muller said in a statement.

Currently, physicians and nurses are responsible for entering data into EHRs, which likely cuts into time spent with patients. EHRs have also been linked to physician burnout and creating a barrier for delivering high-quality patient care.

For its EHR initiative, the organization is asking staff members to provide input on how to make the technology “more clinician-friendly” and help provide better patient care.

“Ultimately, we need to move past the idea that the EHR is just an administrative tool, and see it as a clinical tool––like a scalpel, or a medication or an X-ray machine,” David A. Asch, MD, executive director of the Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation, said in a statement. “We judge these tools by the degree to which they facilitate good patient care, and we should be judging the EHR against the very same standard.”