3 ways EHRs don't work for physicians & how 1 Penn Medicine hospitalist created her own

Many clinicians cite EHRs as a source of burnout but don't have much control over which tools they can use and how they are designed, according to a June 8 article by the American Medical Association.

As a hospitalist at Penn Medicine, Subha Airan-Javia, MD, felt that EHRs induced burnout in clinicians because they didn't have a workflow in mind. Dr. Airan-Javia worked with a team at the Philadelphia health system to create digital handoff solution CareAlign, formerly known as TrekIT. The tool enables certain clinician-facing features, such as enabling team-based collaboration during times of extreme strain, but does not require IT resources to deploy.

Here are three reasons Dr. Airan-Javia said EHRs don't work well:

  1. The focus isn't on physicians.
    The design focus for EHRs emphasizes the business side of healthcare, such as billing and coding. Instead, EHRs should focus on the physicians, nurses and staff that are patient-facing to develop tools that emphasize usability and workflow.

  2. They recreate what is possible on paper.
    EHRs recreate what clinicians were doing on paper, but don't design for what is possible. Instead, EHRs should design for what is not possible with paper.

  3. There is little control over what tools physicians can use.
    A large portion of the administrative burden is the duplicative process of writing the same thing repeatedly in different places. Even though these burdens are common among clinicians, physicians don't usually get much say in what tools they can use. Not having a choice in the process of getting their work done can be frustrating for physicians.

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