Survey: EMRs taking up too much time for doctors

Working with a consultant may suggest faster means for physicians to use EMRs.

Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) are still difficult for some practices to put into regular use. According to a survey featured in JAMA Internal Medicine, one major problem is the amount of time that it takes to consult them. Any possible assistance, including healthcare consulting firms, should be taken into account when preparing systems. 

The source, which polled more than 1,000 internists through the American College of Physicians found that nearly 90 percent of respondents said the use of electronic records led to "at least one management function" slowing down.

Additionally, the results also show an average loss of 48 minutes of productivity per day for physicians. Different types of practitioners saw different levels of lost time: the overall average for all respondents was more than 6 hours per work week.

The doctors that undertook this small survey said that better processes could lead to more efficiency and help practices gain back some of this lost time. The loss of time was said to be "large and pervasive" by respondents.

"Policy makers should consider these time costs in future EMR mandates," the doctors write. "Ambulatory practices may benefit from approaches used by high-performing practices—the use of scribes, standing orders, talking instead of e-mail—to recapture time lost on EMR." 

Variations on this complaint have been consistent over the years and point to the need for assistance that is actually useful as well as legal. Medical practices should think of compliance consulting services as a way to be constantly aware of new regulations. Knowing what the government is prescribing will point to possible solutions in the future, as will researching current.

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