The study, commissioned by Nuance, found that 83% of IT and healthcare leaders believe the intended benefits of EHRs will come to fruition. In terms of what they plan to do to close the gap between what we have today – digitized information – and what clinicians’ need, up to 40% of healthcare providers are investing in technology that will make it easier for clinicians to communicate information, be more efficient and prevent burnout in the future.
Improving the data input process
Let’s face it; data input is far from perfect. It’s gotten much better over the years, but more work needs to be done to get physicians what they need; information in and out of the record fast, help piece it together and guide them when something can be done to help the patient. This study found that this year hospitals plan to invest in technologies for EHR optimization including 44% adding mobility tools, 38% investing in computer-assisted physician documentation (CAPD) and 25% adding speech recognition.
I think they are on the right track because I work with physicians and development partners − from secure messaging and care coordination vendors like Imprivata and Care Thread, to 130 EHR vendors like Epic, Cerner, MEDITECH, athenahealth, eClinicalWorks and Allscripts − and all are working with us to design tools to help caregivers on the frontlines. With physician frustrations at an all-time high, they are always on the hunt for an app, tool or workflow improvement that will give them back time and help them focus on the patient, and these investments will help. These technologies will ease some of the resources and time providers have used to help clinicians adopt EHRs. The study found that 82% of them provide education and training as the primary approach to improve clinician satisfaction.
Boosting clinician adoption
Study findings indicate that most organizations try to improve adoption of EHRs with people. In fact, 77% of survey respondents say they added training and staff. That’s not realistic for many sites that would rather use added staff to care for patients. Plus, the last thing busy physicians want to do is divert more time away from the practice of medicine to learn how to better use EHRs. Every doctor I know has had his fill of “lunch and learns,” computer trainings, and simulations designed to show them how to click through fields or avoid common computer trouble spots. There has to be a better way and there is: design tools with a great UI, and UX and sit back and watch. Hand a kid a smartphone and you get the idea. No extra staff or training needed.
This study shows people are hearing physician frustrations and are looking for new tools and technologies to help. And, advances are being made every day with technology to make documentation and communication in healthcare easier. New solutions using artificial intelligence (AI), apps and shortcuts that save physicians’ time can have a viral effect almost overnight. That’s part of the reason we’ve seen a tripling of clients using Dragon Medical One, our cloud-based clinical speech recognition. Sure it uses AI so the speech recognition is almost flawless, but it’s the improvement in the physician experience that has 97% of clinicians recommending it to colleagues. When physicians find something that will give them time back, they pass it on.
Tipping point for technology
It’s a long road for physicians and the healthcare industry, but a worthwhile one that is already showing much promise. The heavy staffing and investment that was required for rapid EHR deployments and Meaningful Use will slow. Services and support will always be part of keeping physicians happy and up to date, but real advancements are happening to help ease the EHR burden to get to the bright side and promise of digital records. Those on the cutting edge have already adopted tools to help combat the data input hurdle such as healthcare virtual assistants. Going forward, I am extremely eager to witness these experience-enhancing capabilities become mainstream and see how they will ultimately help organizations address our biggest need in supporting patients and providing high quality care.