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All Things HIT

Mar 26 2012   10:26AM GMT

Anoto EHR user survey leaves alot of questions!

Posted by: AllinHIT
EHR, EHR adoption, EHR usability

I was recently perusing through my email and came across a study on EHR users by Anoto Digital Pen, a Swedish based company who manufactures a digital pen, a device that captures hand written text and is capable of uploading that text into an application. Like most of us, with lots of email subscriptions, I glanced at the heading and kept perusing. However, after seeing the survey on other email subscriptions, I decided it was worth a review.  What I found was the survey had me asking many questions, outweighing any worthwhile tidbit of survey fodder. 

The survey’s main revelation was that, despite healthcare organizations’ increase in EHR adoption, there is still a heavy reliance on paper. As Anoto’s SVP of Americas, Pietro Parravicini, concludes, “healthcare remains a paper driven industry and will likely stay that way for the foreseeable future”.  The survey contributes this conclusion to an industry ingrained in the paper culture and the expense of EHR adoption related to training and disruption of care. After reading this, I immediately understood the problem with this survey, and it had nothing to do with not knowing how many organizations responded, or if the survey was for American or Swedish users.   

What was it that immediately grabbed my attention?  On the one hand, the survey respondents have implemented an EHR. But on the other hand, they say it costs too much to train staff and disrupt care. Here in lies the problem.  One of the barriers to EHR implementation is the cost of training the staff.  This cost, usually compromised in the budget, is a key driver for user acceptance, user satisfaction and effective workflows. Just by these users stating that training costs is a barrier, I suspect they are among a popular group of implementors who have sacrificed training in the budget. Hence, it is no surprise that this group leans on their paper processes and runs a hybrid operation. 

Secondly, this group identifies disruption of care as a barrier, which means that users aren’t proficient on the EHR (maybe because of a lack of training), and hence the EHR is slowing them down and keeping them from accomplishing the magic number of daily/monthly encounters needed to maintain revenue. So what do they do?  Resort back to paper of course!  

Lastly, another interesting revelation was that 75% of those surveyed concluded that the Affordable Care Act was going to increase this reliance on paper! This made me ask, “do the users think this increase in paper will improve care”?  Just when I asked myself that, I read that 90% of the users with an “active” EHR state that it does improve patient care! This was even more confusing. What is an “active” EHR, and how many of those surveyed were “active” users? How do they survey results differ between active and non-active EHR users? 

All a perfect example of why some surveys leave you with more questions than answers!

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