Physician viewpoint: EHRs both burden and improve patient care

While the widespread adoption of EHRs has helped hospitals transition from paper to electronic-based medical records, the technology has also contributed to clinician burnout and limited physician's face time with patients.

In letters to the opinion editor published on Jan. 20 by The New York Times, four physicians wrote responses to a recent NYT op-ed about the need for physicians and nurses to take a unified stance against EHR documentation burdens.

Here are three quotes from the physicians:

1. "Our profession has become obsessed with the corporatization of medicine, creating what we call the doctor-computer-patient relationship," wrote David Baskin and Martin Baskin. "Forces all around us are compelling us to become a part of this mess. This is personally distressing because it is pushing medical care in the wrong direction, away from direct face-to-face patient care."

2. "There is so much more positive communication and coordination between healthcare professionals than what is portrayed in your article," wrote Richard Evans, MD, vice president of surgical services at Bon Secours Charity Health System. "The [EHR] system has certainly added to the burden of caring for our patients, but it has also improved our ability to document a patient's care."

3. "'Our Health Record Mess' nicely capsulizes the problems experienced by providers, principally nurses and physicians, in our age of the [EHRs]. But it does not propose much in the way of a solution…" wrote Bruce Wilder, MD. "The excised provisions of H.R. 6898 would have done much — and if reintroduced and enacted, still could do much — to make today's [EHRs] more user-friendly and less costly, and to help solve the nagging problems of interoperability and security."

More articles on EHRs:
Steward Health Care to deploy Meditech EHR across 35 hospitals
Utah HIE taps NextGate to enhance patient identification, interoperability
Epic distancing itself from Google Cloud integrations

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