How Your EHR System Can Hurt Patient Retention & Financial Success

Patients can’t stand when their doctors are distracted. According to them, the best doctors are the ones who truly listen and involve them in their care plan. If patients don’t receive enough care and attention from their providers, they’re likely to look for healthcare elsewhere.

If hospitals and clinics are hoping to improve their patient retention, they need to figure out why this “attention deficit” issue is creeping into exam rooms.

Based on the collective sigh of exasperation we hear from the majority of healthcare professionals, the problem lies with EHR use. (Don’t believe me? Check out this piece written by some doctors from Boston last month.)

EHRs Are Making Doctors’ Jobs Harder

Forget about the massive healthcare industry with its hundreds of healthcare systems and thousands of hospitals for a moment. Bringing any business onto a common process for tracking work performed is challenging, and that’s just for internal teams. Developing an interoperable solution for an entire industry makes that seem like a cakewalk. Considering that, it’s no wonder that EHR systems aren’t perfect.

Unfortunately, healthcare professionals are all too aware of those imperfections.

Studies show repeatedly that EHR use, despite its role in helping obtain payment incentives through Medicare and Medicaid, has a negative impact on work in healthcare settings. One survey showed that almost half of all EHR users feel less productive when using EHR, and that even training and “state-of-the-art” systems can’t remedy the issue. Another report indicated that 37% of providers cite EHR struggles as their number one challenge – tied with financial concerns for the top issue.

In many cases, EHR systems actually result in financial losses for hospitals and clinics, after all.

3 Financial Pains Brought On by EHR Usability (or lack thereof)

Because they’re difficult to use, EHR systems end up being exam room distractions. The presence of those distractions have far-reaching implications for other areas of the health practice.

  1. Patients feel ignored and switch providers.
  2. Doctors put extra, unwanted time into administrative work.
  3. Physicians hit their limit and quit.

That’s right – some healthcare providers are feeling so fed up with the lack of emphasis on quality patient care (and shift to data management through EHR), that they’re outright changing careers. Or they’re expressing that they’d like to, at least. Doctors and informed journalists alike have shared stories about healthcare professionals’ disappointment with the technological changes in the industry. If EHR use is so bad that it results in the loss of human capital, hospitals will be quickly forced to find an alternative solution that helps doctors administer care while preserving their notes.

Are Mobile EHR Applications a Golden Safety Net for Healthcare?

The government incentives issued through MACRA are too good to sacrifice, so EHRs are never really going away. But could there already be tools that make them bearable – or even enjoyable to use?

Mobile device usage is fairly ubiquitous in healthcare, according to a report from 2014 showing that 80% of physicians are regularly using smartphones and 45% are regularly using tablets at work (for work reasons). When healthcare professionals are given a fast, user-friendly app that seamlessly integrates with their existing EHR, they’re able to use it efficiently. They also manage to keep the focus on the patient, instead of a computer screen, which raises patient satisfaction and the likelihood of retention.

Interested in giving a mobile EHR app like that a test run? You can (literally) get your hands on iScribe right now – just click here, fill out the form, and establish a better relationship with your patients (and your EHR).

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