Interoperable EMR, EMR Documentation Time, and Physician Happiness

Posted on October 7, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the 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 and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

This week’s look around the EMR Twitter world seems to indicate a growing number of people talking about the challenge of EMR in its current state. I guess that’s one challenge of wider spread adoption: more people talk about its weaknesses. Although, in the end, we need to have these important discussions. So, it’s good that we’re hearing these concerns voiced.

This is one of the biggest complaints that I hear over and over with EMR. It’s very true that the EMR information isn’t really portable. I think we’re making some progress on this, but it is still a ways off from where it could be. What I don’t think most people recognize is that getting all these doctors on EMR is a necessary step to doing all of the patient data portability stuff. It was never going to happen if doctors didn’t get their records electronic.

The challenge of an EMR “slowing down” a doctor is a big one. Although, as is discussed in the next tweet, there’s a new generation of EMR that take this into account. Plus, there’s a whole shift in this discussion. Before it was like force feeding doctors on a template based system. In some cases we’re still seeing this, but becoming more common is the approach of allowing for multiple options that allow a doctor to work the way that’s best suited and most efficient for them. This will take some time to play itself out though.

The general idea of this article is good. It says basically that the first generation of EMR software was focused on replicating the paper process in electronic form. Then, it suggests that we’re seeing the next generation of EMR software which is working on “physician happiness” and “physician productivity” and this is producing a much different workflow. Change is hard though, but I think it’s happening. Of course, my biggest concern in this regard has to do with EHR certification/Meaningful Use and hospital acquired practices stifling companies that are part of this second wave of EMR software.