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Challenges to EHR implementation

June 29, 2016
by Nicole Stempak, Senior Editor
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Just because doctors have to use electronic health records (EHR) doesn’t mean they want to.

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 requires healthcare professionals use EHRs to track patient care in an effort to improve quality outcomes, communication, interoperability and healthcare information exchange. The Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act requires long-term, post-acute care professionals to report standardized patient assessment data in order to be fully reimbursed for care.

But a new qualitative study of doctors’ perceptions has found a number of challenges associated with using EHRs. Participants reported concerns of increased caregiver workload, a perceived overreliance on technology, problems with user training and issues of trust with technology as well as information input by other physicians.

"There has been a lot of data collected about EHRs but little analysis of how the people using the technology actually feel about it," says Tracy Porter, study co-author and associate lecturer of Department of Management at Cleveland State University in a press release. "Our work indicates that there are clear problems being identified by the EHR user but due in part to workarounds and the culture of silence these issues are not being properly addressed, reducing the benefits of the technology and potentially leading to additional problems."

Porter and her colleagues at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Nebraska-Kearny won a best paper award for empirical research from the Academy of Management. They will present their findings at the Academy’s annual meeting in August and plan to conduct a larger study to see how doctors and nurses perceive EHR costs and benefits.