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Epic scores highest in EHR acute care usability report from KLAS


You may have a point if you complain about the inadequacy of the electronic health records systems on the market, according to a new report from healthcare research firm KLAS.

Doctors frequently gripe about the inadequacy of electronic health record (EHR) systems on the market, and a new report from healthcare research firm KLAS suggests that they have a point.

That's because no EHR vendors have usability "nailed down," according to a recent report rom KLAS on the current state of usability of acute care EHRs.

On a usability scale of 1 through 5, none of the six EHRs that the report examined scored above a 4. Epic took that high score, followed by Cerner (3.7), Siemens (3.7), Allscripts (3.5), McKesson Paragon (3.4), and Meditech v.6 (3.0), according to the KLAS report.

Here's what the report said about Epic: "Wins over physicians during demos. A prescriptive approach to implementation ensures go-live success. Overall deepest adoption of, and highest usability ratings for meaningful use functionality."

To create its rankings, KLAS interviewed 128 providers about how well their EHR systems support "the efficient and effective delivery of the best possible patient care," taking into account usability at the time of go-live, progress made since, vendor guidance, and the amount of effort required by providers.

The rankings placed "special focus" on functionality associated with meaningful use, such as computerized physician order entry, physician documentation, problem lists, and medication reconciliation.

A common complaint about the EHR systems was that providers had to assume most of the responsibility for making the systems more usable. For example, 86% of respondents reported "moderate to extensive effort" in configuring their EHRs.

Epic's claiming of the top spot is hardly a surprise. Last year, KLAS cited Epic as its top EHR system for practices with between 11 andy 75 physicians and also for practices with more than 75 doctors. athenahealth took top honors for practices with fewer than 11 physicians.

Physicians' general dissatisfaction with the EHR systems currently on the market shouldn't a surprise to anyone, either. Adam Sharp, MD, founder of patient referral company par8o, expressed that frustration as well as anyone in a KevinMD post last year.

"Having left [meaningful use] guidelines vague and largely written by a small group of industry insiders, most products have become a Tower of Babel with atrocious user interfaces and user experiences that … well, I don’t blame my fellow physicians for not wanting to use them," Sharp wrote. "In addition to being expensive, they are complex, inefficient, and do not make physicians or their staff more productive."


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Jennifer N. Lee, MD, FAAFP
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health