The transformation of the U.S. health care system to a value-based orientation based on evidence-informed practice and patient-centered outcome metrics is accelerating. The EMR is central to this process but current technology simply hasn't kept pace. Physician burnout is epidemic in today's health care system. Depending on specialty, 40-55% of doctors reported symptoms of burnout in a recent survey describing loss of enthusiasm for work, increased cynicism and a decreased sense of personal worth. Frustration with dated, antiquated electronic medical record technology is a major contributor to burnout as increased computer data entry consumes precious time better devoted to genuine patient care. A just-released survey of more than 15,000 practicing physicians on EMR use found 57% reported decreased face to face time with patients. In comparison with 2014 data, more physicians (27%) reported serious dissatisfaction with the electronic record. 64% of doctors in their most productive years (aged 46-55) noted the EMR slowed their workflow.
More time spent at the keyboard steals from time with family or restorative recreational activities. In addition to spawning an entirely new health care specialist - the scribe - as a workaround for poor technology, EMR-related burnout is leading to early retirements, career changes, and ultimately decreased access to care.
Here are three essential features - "must haves" - which should serve as the guideposts for design of innovative health care technology that really works best for clinicians and patients in the new world of health care: