Doctors spend too much time on EHRs? Most patients don't think so

But only half of consumers think EHRs make healthcare safer, according to a new survey by HealtheLink.
By Tom Sullivan
01:29 PM
doctors and EHRs

Given all the hue and cry about electronic health records distracting clinicians and inhibiting their ability to make eye contact with patients during office visits, the consensus has been that doctors waste precious time on EHRs. But new research suggests fewer patients feel that way than one might expect.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean they believe EHRs make care safer.

Sixty percent of respondents answered “no” when asked if clinicians spend too much time on a computer during the typical appointment, according to HealtheLink, a health information exchange in Buffalo, NY.

[Also: EHR satisfaction survey 2017: After years of frustrations, user wish-list turns positive]

HealtheLink conducted the survey among 1,000 patients, and hospital and IT executives around the country can learn from the results about perceptions of EHRs and patients portals.  

The 60 percent of respondents who do not think their doctors spend too much time working in the EHR is surprising, for instance, but there was still 37 percent who said physicians spend too much time — that rose to 47 percent among respondents who see a doctor five or more times a year.

[Also: Patient engagement is high on health IT to-do lists]

Then there is the question of whether EHRs improve patient safety: 51 percent indicated that they believe using EHRs makes healthcare safer but the rest is divided into 18 percent who said EHRs actually make healthcare less safe and 24 percent answered that the software has no impact either way.

Whereas 90 percent of patients are aware that their clinicians use electronic health records and 72 percent know their primary care doctor has a patient portal, 41 percent have used the portal.

Finally, to the broad question of whether electronic access is good for healthcare 82 percent answered in the affirmative with 58 percent saying “yes” and 24 percent giving a “strongly yes” answer. And HealtheLink said that particular statistic spans all the demographic and age groups it surveyed.

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