Most physicians aren’t asked for feedback during EHR optimization efforts

A majority of physicians weren’t asked by electronic health record (EHR) vendors to provide feedback while making enhancements to EHR systems, according to the Deloitte 2018 Survey of U.S. Physicians.

The national survey polled more than 600 primary care primary care and specialty physicians in the United States—with physicians sharing their thoughts on needed improvements for EHRs, interoperability, clinician workflow and overall engagement.

According to the survey, just one-third (34 percent) of physicians said their organization or EHR vendor sought their feedback on EHR enhancements. Additionally, 51 percent of the physicians who weren't asked to provide feedback said they are unaware of any EHR optimization efforts.

“And while it is possible to run analytics on EHR usage without asking physicians directly (as described above), a dual approach—seeking direct input as well as performing EHR usage analytics—can paint a more nuanced picture of how physicians use EHRs, what can be done to improve their experience, and what’s the impact of interventions,” the report said.

Based on those results, researchers suggested health systems and EHR vendors actively work with physicians and others who frequently use their EHRs to understand their needs and improve effectiveness.

“To achieve this, health systems and EHR vendors can partner with physicians and other EHR users to understand how care teams use the EHR, how to improve EHR functionality, and how to standardize and/or redesign workflows to facilitate a consistent approach,” the report said. “And new technologies (such as natural language processing, voice recognition, and artificial intelligence) could help automate tasks that are not clinically relevant, but which physicians are expected to perform today.”

The survey also revealed 58 percent of physicians said there’s a big opportunity for improvement in clinical documentation, and 62 percent said interoperability needs to be improved.

“To tackle interoperability issues, health systems may need to employ multiple approaches: moving to a unified EHR platform or connecting multiple platforms through interface engines; (application programming interfaces); health information exchange approaches; blockchain to support secure data exchange; and/or custom-built solutions,” the report said.

The report concluded with researchers encouraging healthcare organizations and vendors to seek physician feedback, optimize workflow, communicate progress, provide ongoing support and stay aware of new technology for their staff.