Time spent on EHR data entry instead of interacting with patients is a common complaint from doctors. Studies show that physicians spend as much time on entering information in their EHR as spending face-to-face time with patients, and it can have a direct effect on job satisfaction and contribute to burnout.
Martin Pricco, MD, MBA, an internist and president of Gould Medical Group in Modesto, Calif., did an evaluation with Paul DeChant, MD, MBA, deputy chief health officer of Simpler/IBM Watson Health, examining how Gould’s 360 physicians and allied health practitioners were spending their time in the EHR. The goal was to help the physicians become more efficient and reduce their frustration with the system. He shared his experience at the 2018 Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference held in Las Vegas.
Here are eight changes that can be implemented to help reduce physician frustration with the EHR.
Improve the password process. Physicians should not spend any time typing passwords into workstations in the practice. Instead, provide a proximity password device or other technology solution that does not require the physician to enter a password on a keyboard each time they enter a new room.
Attend or provide individual optimization training. “There is a high correlation between using personalization settings and physician satisfaction,” said Pricco. EHR systems often have features that allow rapid access to data or customization options that physicians don’t even know about, so investing time in training can pay off in long-term time savings and frustration reduction.
Pricco says Gould physicians needed a minimum of six hours of onboarding training, four hours in the classroom and a week of having a trainer spending one-on-one time with them. When complete, physicians can create filters, preference lists, and know how to find the data they need to deliver quality care.
“One of the most common doctor complaints is that they can’t find what they are looking for in the EHR,” Pricco says.
It’s also important to stay current with software upgrades and the training to take advantage of new features.