User Experiences — The Importance of Good Support

A recent study published in Health Affairs by a group of investigators from Weill Cornell Medical College analyzed the amount of technical support that physicians in New York’s Primary Care Information Project needed in order to demonstrate improvements in measures of care most likely to be affected by the use of electronic health records. The measures included breast cancer screening for women, retinal examination for patients with diabetes, and colorectal cancer screening. Only those practices that received at least eight technical assistance visits and had been using the EHR for more than nine months demonstrated improvements in quality. Those that received low or moderate amounts of assistance did not demonstrate quality improvements.

AmericanEHR Partners continuously surveys clinicians regarding their satisfaction with EHRs. The following comments were submitted describing their experiences with EHR support:

  • As a specialist some of the things I prefer not to answer were due to fact I am not using yet but may do so in future. My opinion about EHR choice is that it is all about SUPPORT.
    June 2010 – Allergist – 2 FTE Private Ambulatory Care clinic
  • Customer support since we purchased our system has been very disappointing and much of what we have learned has been by trial and error.
    August 2011 – Rheumatologist – 7 FTE Private Ambulatory Care clinic
  • Difficult to know how much of our customer support problem is at the vendor and how much is at the institutional level.  Our EHR user interface is arcane, completely non-intuitive, and a real step backward relative to other software (Apple as an example) regarding ease of use and intuitiveness.
    June 2011 – Surgeon – 350 FTE Academic medical center (AMC)
  • Even after 3 years, the physician time per patient encounter is longer than prior, but many benefits to practice.  Importance of vendor support we found to be critical, but costly.
    April 2010 – Gastroenterologist – 3 FTE Private Ambulatory Care Clinic
  • As a specialist our EHR lacks some functionality that is important to me.  In addition, our institution has not yet rolled out online ordering using the EHR. I’m really not looking forward to that, because training has been pretty poor all along regarding the EHR we have. Our institutional support is OK, but the system runs very slowly at peak hours because we lack enough band width when everyone is using at the same time.
    December 2012 – Neurologist – 25 FTE Academic Medical Center (AMC)
  • I have continued to visit with others and all agree that it is the support and technical backup that makes a good EHR company. Our EHR put all of the other companies to shame.
    April 2010 – General Internal Medicine – 1 FTE Private Ambulatory Care Clinic
  • I am in the process of transferring my support from the sub-contracted company which went bankrupt to the parent company; I anticipate that this could make a huge difference in my perception of the product over the next year; as I love the product but have had issues with training and support.
    April 2010 – Neurologist – 1 FTE Private Ambulatory Care Clinic
  • I really was committed to using an EHR, as solo practitioner I had absolutely ZERO support for selection and implementation. All resources in our county med society went to PCPs. I am specialist. I chose my EHR product because the  local hospital (tertiary care, large teaching facility) used it. VERY VERY disappointed. I started as a very committed physician champion and am now an abject cynic. I didn’t go to school for 26 years to be reduced to a data entry clerk!
    November 2012 – Otolaryngologist – 1 FTE Private Ambulatory Care Clinic

What are your experiences with EHR support? What would you consider ideal?

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