The healthcare automation process is in full gear, with the EMR adoption rate close to 60%. With sights on affordable and accountable care, providers have become much receptive to change. Health IT offers improved efficiency at reduced costs through better information management. Electronic data interchange and practice availability online are necessities today as care move towards more accessibility. However, this change has not put an end to resistance. Some physicians still see EMR as a detractor and feel that they are better off with paper. Electronic medical records have been commonly branded immature and inefficient. Some providers feel that using an EMR sacrifices care quality and affects patient-doctor interaction. “I could write a note within a minute, while it takes me more time to complete the documentation on an EMR”, says one practitioner.
The shift to electronic medical records has been substantial and despite the increase in technological awareness, providers struggle to utilize EMRs in an optimal manner. Years and years of practice have made physicians more efficient with paper records, while electronic medical records are still comparatively new and alienating. “Let me clarify, providers are not adverse to technology. We had a wave of physicians adopting practice management systems to improve their scheduling, resource allocation and billing process. It was much simpler as providers knew what they were getting and how it would affect their practice. Whereas, with EMR everything is up in the air”, says one health IT consultant.
Practice management systems are popular with most practices within the US. As it focuses on the administrative tasks alone, providers do not have to worry about its effect on the care delivery process itself. Many physicians would also argue that the efficiency and productivity are administrative targets and care should not be measured in that way. “I don’t have an office manager at the moment, so I do my own scheduling and billing using the practice management software (read more). It is simple to get the hang of it unlike most EMRs that I have encountered”, says a single provider based in New Jersey.