Addressing Inefficiencies and Obstacles Related to EHR Use

According to a study published in JAMA Network Open, poor EHR design is a leading contributor to physician frustration and exhaustion.  Daniel Murphy, Traber Giardina and Tyler Satterly, authors of the study, say doctors feel the lack of usability and inefficient workflow is extending the time needed to complete often basic tasks and leading to cognitive overload. In an EHR Intelligence piece discussing their research, reporter Christopher Jason cites a supporting study, conducted by the University of New Mexico, that found it generally takes clinicians “a 60-hour week just to keep up with documentation.”

Murphy, Giardina and Satterly surveyed 25 physicians at six healthcare organizations and identified 50 barriers that physicians say are prohibiting efficient EHR use. These obstacles include unnecessary steps, cluttered interface design, inability to set reminders and distribute tasks, and more. The interviews revealed key changes that physicians say would be instrumental in improving safety and productivity, and reducing burnout. They include the following:

  • reduction in message processing complexity;
  • simplification of the interface design; and
  • features to reduce physician cognitive load, facilitate care team communication and streamline inbox message content.

The study concludes by noting that physicians believe adoption of these recommendations requires “a strong collaborative effort between EHR developers and healthcare organizations.” They suggest the creation of “regional or national consortia to support collaborative sharing and implementation of EHR system best practices” for helping to optimize physician use of EHRs.

MLMIC encourages all insured physicians, other health care professionals and facilities to explore opportunities to enhance the efficiencies of their EHR systems and IT Departments.