Use of electronic medical records (EMRs) continues to spread throughout medical practices in the United States, especially in the field of ophthalmology.
According to the American Society of Ophthalmic Administrators (ASOA) 2015 EHR Customer Satisfaction Report, 75 percent of ophthalmologists are currently using an EMR in their practice. EMR’s growth in ophthalmology can largely be attributed to Meaningful Use since the majority of ophthalmology patients are elderly and likely using Medicare.
Unfortunately, with the increase in EMR use has come a slight rise in dissatisfaction in EMRs as well. In the last two years, dissatisfaction rose four percent in the survey (18-22 percent).
EMR dissatisfaction is caused by a variety of factors, depending on the user’s particular experience. However, there were four popular reasons in the survey that have led to greater dissatisfaction from ophthalmologists and administrators.
1. Decline in productivity (65%)
In theory, EMRs are designed to streamline processes for physicians, but depending on how the EMR fits with the practice, it doesn’t always work out like it’s intended to. Most often, this occurs when specialty practices are stuck with a generic, big box EMR that isn’t constructed to fit with the unique needs of the specialty. Incompatibility between the EMR and the specialty can quickly slow operations down and negatively affect production levels.
2. Poor customer service (52%)
Nothing can ruin a practice’s EMR experience quicker than inadequate customer service, no matter how good the product may be. Selecting a vendor with a specialized support team is the best way to combat this issue. They possess the knowledge necessary to fully understand the complexities of the ophthalmology field, making the practice’s life much easier when software issues or questions arise.
3. Interrupts patient exam experience (50%)
Patient care and satisfaction is at is best when the patient feel their ophthalmologist is engaged and focused on their needs during the exam. If EMRs are hindering, not enhancing the patient exam experience, patient satisfaction will suffer. Ultimately, patient care should be the top priority for ophthalmologists, so if there are issues with the EMR, it may be a good indicator a change needs to be made.
4. More time typing or transcribing notes (47%)
Multiple data silos lead to large amounts of wasted time entering repetitive data or notes. Unfortunately, this frustration can extend outside the exam room and into the front or back-end workflows. Tediously typing notes at multiple points during the patient experience wastes valuable time and encourages greater inefficiencies, which will limit an ophthalmologist’s revenues and production.
Not all EMRs are created equal. If your ophthalmology practices is experiencing any one of these issues, be sure to evaluate whether your current EMR solution is best software to accommodate your practice’s needs.