A mind-boggling array of electronic health record (EHR) systems are at work in hospitals and healthcare facilities across the US, but while physicians are quick to adopt new technologies, they grapple with EHR systems. Why? It seems their satisfaction with technologies like their iPhones is high – and they want their experience with EHRs to be similar, or at least better than it is now. “Having seen what a good interface can do, doctors become more demanding of the sub-par interfaces on EHRs,” writes O'Reilly Media editor Andy Oram.
Indeed, adoption of EHR systems is up, but so is dissatisfaction with EHRs. Physician blogger, Edwin Leap, MD, says, “My problem with EHR as a whole is that it isn’t really designed for the good of the practitioner or the patient. It seems to exist to capture data and expedite billing. The developers of these ‘time savers’ frequently seem to have no idea at all what physicians and nurses do, nor do they understand the time constraints we face.”
The importance of EHR to physicians has risen rapidly, due (in part) to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) President Obama signed in February. A $787 billion economic stimulus package that set aside some $17 billion in incentive payments to physicians and hospitals that adopt EHRs, the supporters of ARRA think a national network of EHRs will improve the quality of care and dramatically lower Medicare and Medicaid costs. Just imagine: no more illegible handwriting, and no more paying for repeat tests when another physician's paper chart isn't handy.
Meeting the government’s mandate and electronic medical records deadline will not be easy for everyone in the health industry. On the other hand, physicians can receive up to $44,000 in Medicare incentive payments for implementing EHR systems and demonstrating “meaningful use” in stages. You can learn more about the national EMR/EHR mandate here.
EHRs are on the minds of physician candidates.
Familiarity and comfort using a specific EHR can go a long way to matching the right physician candidates with your opportunities. On Doximity, physicians can list EHR experience within their digital CV and Doximity Talent Finder recently added EHR experience to the keyword search on the recruiting platform. Physician recruiters can search EHR vendor names by keyword (e.g., “Epic” or “Cerner”), to discover candidates who have experience with specific EHRs.
According to HealthIT.gov, 8 out of 10 physicians report overall, improved patient care with EHR use. So while physicians find EHRs exasperating, an effective EHR is a big draw for physicians who want to spend less time grinding out paperwork and more time seeing patients. It’s vital for recruiting new doctors, too: nearly 94 percent of medical students say it’s important that their workplace has an EHR, and younger physicians who’ve grown up with technology are asking about EHRs early in their candidacy.
EHR can assist with physician retention, too.
An effective EHR can give your hospital or facility a big advantage when it comes to physician retention, too. Physicians who are comfortable with one system are more likely to move to a facility that has the same system; and they’re less likely to move to one that uses a different EHR. In other words, an effective EHR just might make physicians stay.
Some thorny issues are associated with the use of EHRs, which is why the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) formed a task force to study EHRs. They recently published an article that outlines five broad goals for improvement and ranks EHRs with usability scores and full ratings. You can read the report on the status and future direction of EHRs here.
If you aren’t familiar with the top EHRs you’ll find find this review of the 100 Top EHR Companies from Medical Economics helpful. Healthcare IT News also recently published the results of their EHR Satisfaction Survey.
An effective EHR makes a physician’s job efficient and their communication more accurate, so use it in your recruitment pitch – or as Josn Rossheim puts it in an article for KevinMD.com: “If you’ve got a comprehensive, up-to-date technology, it makes sense to flaunt it.”
If you haven’t tried the new EHR search option on Doximity Talent Finder, give it a turn and let us know what you think. A few innovators in physician recruitment recently offered other tips for using Doximity Talent Finder. Why not download them now?