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Doctors cite usability as critical to EHR adoption, study finds


BURLINGTON, Mass. While the administration of Barack Obama has set aside $2 billion of stimulus money to promote the adoption of electronic health records, the overwhelming majority of doctors say money isn’t the biggest incentive, according to a new study.

The study, conducted by Nuance Communications, a company that supplies speech recognition technologies for EHRs, found that 90% of doctors cited usability as critical to the adoption of EHRs.

Titled “The EHR Meaningful Use Physician Study,” the 1,000-doctor survey was designed to help understand how “meaningful use” provisions in the HITECH Act within the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 should, in their opinion, be defined, the company said. Beginning in 2011, physicians and hospitals can receive incentive payments under Medicare and Medicaid, but only if they are found to be “meaningful” users of EHR.

Ninety percent of the doctors said that getting access to medical records faster without waiting for records to come out of traditional manual transcription would be an important qualification for the federal government to measure as part of pay-outs associated with EHR meaningful use. For 83%, more complete patient reports with higher levels of detail on the patient’s condition and visit were important, while another 83% cited better caregiver-to-caregiver communication based on improved reporting that is more accessible and easily shared. Seventy-nine percent cited improved documentation by pairing the EHR point-and-click template with physician narrative.

“Utilization – actually getting physicians and healthcare provider organizations not just to deploy an EHR system, but to effectively use it for clinical documentation – remains a leading and often overlooked hurdle to national EHR adoption,” Nuance Healthcare SVP marketing and product strategy Peter Durlach said. “By speech-enabling the EHR, many common EHR obstacles can be avoided.”

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