Do physicians really experience a satisfaction 'J-curve' with EHRs?

There's a school of thought about EHR adoption that suggests physicians experience an initial decrease in their positive perceptions of the technology, but over time those levels creep back up and ultimately surpass their pre-implementation perceptions. But does that J-curve actually exists for EHRs? A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association says no.

"[W]e did not find evidence for a J-curve pattern with respect to positive perceptions eventually exceeding baseline measures," the authors concluded. "Some measures followed a U-curve (returned to baseline), or flatlined, while most followed an L-curve (fell and remained below baseline)."

The study is based on a prospective longitudinal survey of Ann Arbor-based University of Michigan Health System physicians over the course of two years, from when they dropped their homegrown CareWeb EHR, for Epic's. Although all physicians received training on the new system and the system "invested substantial resources developing customized content," according to the paper, the only significant increase over baseline perception after two years of the new EHR was for documenting while in the exam room with patients. 

"Future research is warranted to determine if positive perceptions eventually surpass baseline, and what interventions can help physicians use EHRs more effectively," the authors concluded. 

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