A new challenge published by Athena Health last week is entitled “Let Doctors Be Doctors.” 1 This speaks to the increasing frustrations by physicians regarding the weaknesses of our current electronic health records system. ZDoggMD (Dr. Zubin Damania), a well-known healthcare speaker, has produced a video that reflects the issues with the EHR and how they are affecting medicine on a daily basis.
Why the frustration with the EHR? Many issues exist, but a major one is interoperability. According to HIMSS, the definition of interoperability is “… the ability of different information technology systems and software applications to communicate, exchange data, and use the information that has been exchanged. Data exchange schema and standards should permit data to be shared across clinicians, lab, hospital, pharmacy, and patient regardless of the application or application vendor.” 2
The Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration have forecasted the year 2022 as the time in which their EHRs will become interoperable; the DOD and VA have been working on this for two decades! 3 Why does there appear to be such a problem with EHRs “talking” to one another? No one has come up with a good solid reason as yet, but many excuses exist: vendors and their proprietary systems; no standards in place; no focus on health information exchange or EHR usability.
Another significant issue leading to physician frustration is the loss of precious time. A study by the American Journal of Emergency Medicine found that physicians at St. Luke’s University Health Network in Pennsylvania spent an average of 43% of their time on data entry and only 28% of their time on patient care. 4 That’s almost half their time on a computer! In addition, an average of 4000 clicks were made by each physician during a 10-hour ED shift.
Physicians want and need to return to patient care, and patients deserve better. That is the driving force behind the “Let Doctors Be Doctors” campaign. EHRs are here to stay, but physicians need help now if medicine is going to heal itself. Scribes are a great solution to this problem. At AHDPGTM, we train allied health professionals–healthcare documentation specialists, medical assistants, etc.–in the fine art of translating the patient’s health story into an accurate, complete electronic record. By utilizing scribes, providers are able to return to their calling–providing patient care–while an experienced allied health professional scribe creates the documentation and performs the “4000 clicks.” This is an easy, viable solution to “Let Doctors Be Doctors” again. Get in touch with AHDPGTM today to find out more!
- “THE EHR THAT SOLVES HEALTH CAREʼS BIGGEST PROBLEM: THE EHR.” Cloud-Based EHR and Practice Management Services. Web. 3 Nov. 2015.
- “What Is Interoperability?” What Is Interoperability? Web. 3 Nov. 2015.
- “Interoperability Is Years Away for the VA and DoD.” Healthcare IT News. Web. 3 Nov. 2015.
- “4000 Clicks: A Productivity Analysis of Electronic Medical Records in a Community Hospital ED.” The American Journal of Emergency Medicine 31.11 (2013): 1591–1594. Web. 3 Nov. 2015.