Rand Study: Doctors Give Electronic Records Mixed Reviews

Monday, 06 Jan 2014 04:09 PM

By Courtney Coren

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The federal government is not getting the support from doctors it had hoped it would for the use of electronic health records, a study finds.

The study by the Rand Corp., which was sponsored by the American Medical Association, was released in October. It found mixed reviews from physicians surveyed at 30 medical practices in six states — Colorado, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin — about using EHRs.

While some doctors see benefits to providing quality care for patients, EHRs have also become a source of "physician dissatisfaction," as doctors report that they have decreased face time with patients.

"Physicians believe in the benefits of electronic health records, and most do not want to go back to paper charts," said Dr. Mark Friedberg, the study's lead researcher and scientist at Rand. "But at the same time, they report that electronic systems are deeply problematic in several ways.

"Physicians are frustrated by systems that force them to do clerical work or distract them from paying close attention to their patients," he said.

Another source of frustration with the electronic system is that the various systems in use do not communicate as seamlessly as promised.

According to USA Today, the Meaningful Use program was created as part of the federal spending stimulus package that was passed in 2009. Doctors are not required to join, but if they don't by the end of the third phase, which is now scheduled to begin in 2017, they will face lower reimbursements for Medicare and Medicaid patients.

The same study also found that doctors are not sure how Obamacare will affect their work satisfaction or the finances of their practices.


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