AMA CMIO: EHRs are falling short of meeting the needs of doctors
ORLANDO — Health IT vendors are still missing the mark when it comes to answering the needs of America’s burnt-out physicians.
“This is not about putting our hands up and saying stop innovation,” said Michael Hodgkins, MD, vice president and chief medical information officer at the American Medical Association. “It is simply about the need to focus on evidence, accuracy, how it’s integrated with our EHRs and how it’s integrated within our practice.”
It’s not necessarily news that broad dissatisfaction is darkening the mood in the physician community. According to Hodgkins, who delivered his remarks at HIMSS17 on Tuesday, physicians are spending twice the amount of time on deskwork and EHR maintenance, including 38 hours a month spent on EHRs after work hours, than they are treating patients.
The AMA probed that dissatisfaction in a recent survey and found with issues, there are really only a handful that plagues them. Physicians want to provide high-quality care, but EHR work seems to get in the way of that, he said. At the same time, practice sustainability and changing reimbursement models that favor scale and shift risk to the providers is leading many practices to merge or sell out altogether.
Throw in the more than 200,000 healthcare platforms and apps that are competing for not only physician buy-in, but consumer use as well, and that can further overwhelm physicians.
“What I tell physicians is just wait,” he said. “If you think the impact of the electronic health record has been significant, what do we expect from the impact of the proliferation of mobile apps, many which are unproven?”
Hodgkins said physician input is often not being sought before these platforms are built, and the result can be dangerous.
For example, a smartphone app called Instant Blood Pressure had to be pulled from the market last year because it was wrong eight out of 10 times in gauging a user’s blood pressure.
“It even told people with hypertension that they were normal,” he said.
To be clear, Hodgkins said the AMA has made fostering physician education around new technology a priority, and it stands behind a host of projects that are driving innovation with doctor input.
Those include start-up incubator MATTER and Sling Health, which are both run by former medical students. Health2047 is another innovation think-tank that not only links physicians and programmers but is also including members from the gaming community for their expertise in consumer adoption.
The AMA has also launched its own Physician Innovation Network, a program currently in beta form that the organization plans to release more broadly in the near future. The aim is to link the tech community directly with clinicians so they may converse and even collaborate on new tools.
“The innovator community knows a lot about technology. What they often don’t know a lot about is how healthcare professionals think,” he said.
This article is part of our ongoing coverage of HIMSS17. Visit Destination HIMSS17 for previews, reporting live from the show floor and after the conference.