In Dacula, Georgia, primary care physician Susan Jane Smith, MD, is also switching EHRs, also to Epic. Her employer, Northeast Georgia Physicians Group, is trying to link its 200 doctors to area hospitals as well as local clinics it operates. It also wants to improve connectivity with specialists to whom its physicians refer patients.
“It’s very important that we have interoperability and we’re not always faxing and scanning paper,” Smith says. “To be able to realize that goal, everyone needs to be on the same system.”
Having changed systems four times already, Smith takes EHR switching in stride at this point in her career. “Physicians should remember that they are always smarter than a computer,” she says. “It’s just a fancy file cabinet. So don’t stress out about it.”
EHRs as an employment factor
Crystal Lake, Illinois-based internist Greg Jun represents the other half of survey respondents who have switched EHRs: those who did so due to a change in employment. In 16 years of medical practice in various settings, Jun has switched five times.
In 2016, Jun joined Centegra Physician Care and made sure to ask what system the practice uses as part of determining whether to work there. “With young residents out there looking for their first job, I tell them that EHRs are a very important part of your duties and your productivity, so it should be a significant factor as to where you want to work,” he says.
Jun advises asking potential employers these questions:
- What system are you using?
- How long have you used it?
- Are you planning on changing to a new system in the near future?
- Is there a good informatics or IT department to help physicians?
As a former medical director of clinical informatics for a hospital system, Jun’s experience with various systems comes with the understanding that unless physicians make their concerns known, to administrators or vendors, EHR switching will continue.