While there seems to be a varying degree of opinion on the correlation of physician burnout to EHR use, one thing is for certain, having an EHR that is easy to use and efficient only helps.
Let’s face it… how many of you physicians out there bring your laptop computer home and end up working on the EHR at night or on the weekends because there just isn’t enough time in the day. Or maybe you are able to keep work at the office, but how many of you feel the office is chaotic on a daily basis? Well, maybe 2020 is finally the year to seriously consider switching your EHR. It doesn’t hurt to at least look, right?
The Stats are Discouraging
Physicians claim EHR’s are widely to blame for their stress and burnout, according to a survey by researchers from the University of New Mexico’s Health Science Center. In collaboration with Stanford University, the University of Minnesota, Hennepin County Medical Center, and the Centura Health System in Colorado and Texas, the survey was administered to 282 clinicians on “EHR design and use factors associated with stress and burnout. The survey also included validated measures of stress, burnout, and the likelihood to leave the practice of medicine.”
The results were unsettling. They found that 40% of clinician’s contributed their stress due to the clinical process design and the clinical structure, both of which can be highly impacted by the EHR.
Yikes. Seems like something has to give.
Will AI Save the Day?
Recently, we have heard about how Artificial Intelligence is going to change healthcare. Specifically, voice recognition is being touted as the next best thing.
AWS recently announced the Amazon Transcribe Medical, “a new HIPAA-eligible, machine learning automatic speech recognition (ASR) service that allows developers to add medical speech-to-text capabilities to their applications.”
According to the same AWS blog post, “clinicians can spend up to an average of six additional hours per day, on top of existing medical tasks, just writing notes for EHR data entry.” Many believe voice recognition technology could drastically improve this.
In fact, Cerner has been one of the first to announce they use Amazon Transcribe Medical in their EHR solution.
We look forward to more reading more studies on the subject.
Should you Change your EHR?
The idea of changing your EHR may seem daunting. And I’m sure you asking yourself, “Is it worth the time and money to switch?” Only you can answer that. It is hard to put a value on your sanity (ok, the word sanity is a bit of an extreme) at the office or your personal time at home with family.
Create a SWOT Analysis for Deciding to Switch to a New EHR
We realize you went to medical school, not business school. But performing a SWOT analysis on any situation in life can prove to be fruitful. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunity and Threats and a SWOT analysis is set up in a four-quadrant graph. It can help you evaluate a particular situation. To get you started, listed below are some examples you can use for a SWOT analysis on Switching your EHR:
- Strengths Example – A new EHR may offer actionable data analytics reporting.
- Weaknesses Example – The staff is only trained on our current EHR, they will need all new training.
- Opportunities Example – More personal free time
- Threats Example – Hidden costs
You get where this is going. Keep adding to this list and sit back and evaluate what you wrote.
It Can’t Hurt to Look
If you have been frustrated with your current EHR or if you ever had a fleeting moment of considering changing, then it can’t hurt to shop around and see what else is out there. Go ahead and perform demos and price different options out. Even if you don’t end up switching your EHR, going through this exercise will if anything, validate that your current EHR is your best option. Or you might just change your EHR and end up a happier person both professionally and personally, due to a better work/life balance.
UPDATE: How has the EHR market handled the COVID-19 pandemic? Many medical practices that were considering a new EHR are now rethinking their criteria. Read more about how COVID-19 has exposed the EHR market and what features should now be considered.