Blog | Tuesday, October 25, 2011

QD: News Every Day--Physicians need more training when adopting EHRs

Physicians need at least three to five days of training on new electronic health record (EHR) systems to achieve the highest level of overall satisfaction, but nearly half of new users get three or fewer days of training, according to a survey.

AmericanEHR Partners surveyed physicians' experiences with EHRs to achieve some meaningful use requirements. (The group is a web-based resource for EHR system selection/implementation developed by the American College of Physicians and Cientis Technologies).

AmericanEHR Partners used a 139-question online survey to collect data form physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants about their use and satisfaction with EHRs and health information technology. Survey data from more than 2,300 physicians in conjunction with five different professional societies was collected from April 2010 to July 2011. Results appeared at the group's website.

There were 4,280 responses, an average response rate of 8.5%, though rates differed across professional societies. Of those who responded to the survey, 2,384 (54%) had an EHR system and completed the entire survey, and 69% of the surveys were received from physicians in practices of 10 or fewer clinicians.

Other key findings from the report include:
--Overall satisfaction with an EHR highly correlated with whether the respondent was involved in choosing the system.
--Ratings on ease of use for basic EHR functions required for meaningful use continued to improve with more than two weeks of training.
--Training of at least one week correlated with improvement in the reported usability of advanced EHR features such as checking patient formularies, importing medication lists and medication reconciliation.

The authors, which include staff from the American College of Physicians, wrote, "We were surprised to find that almost 50% of respondents received three or fewer days of training given the complexity of current EHR systems and the pressure to achieve [meaningful use]. The percentage of respondents reporting this low level of training was highest for individuals in practices of 11+ clinicians. It is possible that larger practices deploy other methods of ensuring clinicians receive appropriate EHR guidance, such as placement of coaches alongside clinicians after implementation in lieu of additional pre-implementation training."