Interoperability pain point: the emergency department

Emergency department leaders believe their hospital hastily chose an EHR for meaningful use
By Jack McCarthy
10:03 AM
Stressed doctor

A survey of emergency department (ED) doctors and staff found widespread dissatisfaction with interoperability and usability in Emergency Department Information Systems (EDIS).

"Eighty-nine percent of ED leaders believe their hospitals rushed to purchase new electronic health records and ED systems between 2010 and 2013 for meaningful use dollars, just to see productivity fall, liability rise and connectivity stall," according to a survey by Black Book.

Black Book surveyed 738 emergency department administrative and nursing managers, and 1,104 ED physicians (over half are members of the American College of Emergency Physicians).

The firm found that 39 percent of hospitals with enterprise EHR emergency modules listed themselves as moderately to highly dissatisfied with their current EDIS, yet 90 percent of those managers and physicians claim they are stuck with making hospital-wide generic EHR systems work, or they've been denied budget funds for 2016 EDIS replacements. What's more, 72 percent of hospitals dissatisfied with interoperability and usability of their current EDIS.

[Related: How does your EHR stack up? See our 2015 satisfaction survey results.]

"Enterprise EHR solutions have typically been very generic with difficult customization processes and long implementations for emergency departments,"¬ Black Book managing partner Doug Brown said in a prepared statement. "An obvious game changer in the EDIS replacement environment are developments in EDIS interoperability and mobility."

Conducted August through October, the survey found hospitals polled utilizing Epic Systems' enterprise EHR solutions were most dissatisfied with the inability to integrate with best of breed EDIS solutions (86 percent) or provide widespread connectivity to obtain external records (83 percent).

Cerner, Allscripts, Healthland, Evident CPSI and Meditech enterprise EHR solutions faired much higher, all surpassing several long standing best of breed EDIS products in 2015. Seventy-nine percent of collective users of those EHR systems credit substantial enhancements in usability since 2010, the survey said.

The upside? Black Book also found that replacing EDIS solutions can improve reporting capabilities and customer services outcomes, and reduced visit costs as much as 12 percent. 

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