A scathing rebuke of EHR

I encourage anyone with an EHR or thinking of getting an EHR to read this.  I do not think it is a unique story.

I recently spent an hour with my cardiologist.  He is employed by a very large teaching hospital.  After checking my vitals, listening to my heart, and asking a few questions, he moved from the exam table to the keyboard—where he remained.


The focus of our conversation quickly moved away from me and onto him—more accurately to his Hospital’s three-year-old EHR system.  I learned quickly from him that calling it a system was somewhat optimistic.

Here is what I learned from him about the hospital’s EHR:

  • It is possible to take your most expensive and most trained resource away from what they do and have them spend forty-five minutes of the hour performing a clerical task—data entry.
  • Productivity is down at least thirty percent.
  • He called EHR the “Silent intruder in the room.”
  • “What are the benefits?” I asked.  “It does a great job collecting data for those who may want to use it against us in a law suit.”
  • “What about interoperability?”  “Not in my lifetime,” he replied.
  • “It makes everyone’s job easier but mine and the nurses.”
  • “Did anyone speak to you about what you needed from an EHR?”  He is still laughing.
  • He needed his nurse to help him schedule my next appointment.
  • “How would you react if I asked if what the hospital implemented was nothing more than a hundred million dollar scanner?”  “I would not disagree with that assessment.”

The good news is that he is arranging a meeting for me with the hospital’s CEO to see what I can do to help.

My take?  I was the other intruder in the room.  

5 thoughts on “A scathing rebuke of EHR

  1. My doctor’s assessment was not quite as bad as this, but still none too happy.

    I like the approach of getting to the CEO – brilliant!


  2. Pingback: ICMCC News Page » A scathing rebuke of EHR

  3. My questions (aside from what EHR is it), would be how much training did they have? Did anyone observe their workflow prior to dumping this system on them? Why doesn’t he have some sort of voice recognition software or handwriting software? Yeah these items can be pricey, but frankly they are worth every penny in my estimation.
    The big factor that is lacking with so many implementations is training. It’s likely that the system they have is capable of improving their productivity rather than hindering it, they just don’t know how to use the thing to their advantage. I don’t mean the basics. Anyone can type a document in MS Word, but when it comes to actual desktop publishing, things become a bit more challenging. Also, desktop computers in the exam room are just ridiculous. A tablet, an iphone (at least with Allscripts), or even a laptop. Anything that allows them to stay put and simply talk or tap the screen would enable them to remain engaged with the patient.


  4. Pingback: MGMA Confirms Productivity Loss with Government’s EMR Program « health care commentaries from around the world

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