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Imagine if EHRs were clinical tools first

January 2018
Becker's Health IT & CIO Review


[The following commentary was authored by PatientKeeper CEO Paul Brient and Jennifer Sun, M.D., a PatientKeeper product manager]

The electronic health record (EHR) originally was envisioned as a means to improve clinicians’ access to patient information. Unfortunately, the EHR has been hijacked by finance and compliance functions. The result? Today's EHRs are a thorn in the side of physicians.

The root of the problem stems from the fact that nearly all EHRs currently deployed at U.S. hospitals began as systems to operate a hospital, not to support physician workflow. Over time, the hospital information system’s role expanded to include patient clinical data and physician workflow automation.

Unfortunately, the typical EHR has not yet evolved to meet physicians’ needs in an intuitive or optimal manner. AMA President David O. Barbe, M.D., recently observed, “Poorly-designed and implemented EHRs have physicians suffering from a growing sense that they are neglecting their patients and working more … as they try to keep up with an overload of type-and-click tasks.”

If EHRs truly were clinical tools, optimized for physicians, they would look, feel and operate differently.

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