Why Physicians Prefer to Choose their own EMR?

Most physicians customarily like to associate themselves with multiple practices or hospitals. In today’s competitive environment, reimbursements are meager and costs are high. This compels most physicians to seek additional hours at hospitals or establish their own private practices. Keeping pace with the ever evolving healthcare industry is also an arduous task. With healthcare moving towards automated care, physicians must adapt accordingly or risk being left behind. While the recent report from CDC shows an improved EMR adoption rate for single providers, smaller practices are still playing catch up.

“It is not that physicians have not been exposed to the technology. Most physicians have access to electronic medical records at hospitals if not at their private practices.”, says Keith Smith, a health IT consultant. He believes that the gradual increase in EMR adoption will undoubtedly influence physicians across the nation. Keith further adds that, “Physicians are usually very sociable. If all of their friends are using electronic medical records, then they would want to use it too.”

This is one reason why most physicians tend to choose EMR solutions popular amongst their peers and colleagues. That being said, physicians tend to avoid electronic medical records being used at hospitals that they are affiliated with, while purchasing an EMR for their private practices. This may seem unusual given their level of familiarity with such systems, but hospital based EMRs are often designed to conform with generic requirements, whereas physicians prefer choosing an EMR that can provide for their individual practice workflows.

Another reason may be that most hospital based EMRs are configured to operate in a specific environment. Hospitals have more resources at their disposal compared to a private practice. Hence, while a large health organization might be able to derive efficient workflows from implementing an EHR solution, the outcomes may not be the same for a smaller practice. Therefore, unless a physician has other factors to accommodate, they would refrain from choosing hospital based systems.

“Every practice has their own unique identity and their workflows should be able to reflect that. This is why practitioners seek customizable EHRs that fit their practice structure and requirements.”, says a Florida based practice office manager.


3 thoughts on “Why Physicians Prefer to Choose their own EMR?

  1. Let it be known that EHR and EMR are not the same. Hospitals usually use an EMR and clinics usually use an EHR. EMR’s are not as user friendly for a small clinic and most EHR are not usually sometimes as thorough. IT is a good idea for providers to choose what EHR/EMR that they use and any vendor consultant should consider the needs of the clinic not consider what EHR they want to push. What works for one clinic may not work for another.

  2. I agree with the first part of the statement “Every practice has their own unique identity”(grammar and redundancy excluded). However, I strongly disagree with the second part, “workflows should be able to reflect that”. Workflows should be studied carefully and inefficiencies eliminated. The time is past that we can do things uniquely in our practices just because we have done things this way in the past when there were health care dollars in abundance (or so we thought). The specific tone or flavor of a practice is in the interpersonal relations between patients and providers. That is a different issue that has value and should be continued. The value of the EMR is in standardizing care and making it more efficient according to the 90% rule-most of the time we can handle the same problems the same way. We can build treatment algorithms for the majority of common problems that will reduce wasting health care dollars. Fewer interfaces to connect practices, hospitals, labs and radiology services will help prevent duplication of services. As in the production of other electronic or software products, EMR’s will become less expensive and will be produced by fewer companies than today. The certification requirement will accelerate this trend. EMR’s need to be subspecialty specific but not practice specific or infinitely customizable or they will just perpetuate the inefficiencies in the current healthcare system in the U.S.

    1. Dear Mr. Audeh, thank you for such a valid and detailed response. The market today is evolving a bit too quickly with many different EMRs and the government has played an important role in bringing about a positive change in care delivery. You’re right about limited customizability of EMRs. A mature EMR solution simply can’t be infinitely customizable; however it evolves through the feedback from users. Accountability through standardized EMR systems will help healthcare move in the right direction!

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