How do doctors feel about electronic health records (EHRs)? What do they want from this type of software? And what are the major barriers to doctors’ use of EHRs? should be your priority questions if you’ve decided to build custom healthcare software for your medical practice or implement an existing solution.

Big data has had a tremendous affect on the healthcare sector. In 2017, the global market for healthcare analytics was valued at $16.9 billion. By the year 2025, that figure is projected to grow to $67.82 billion.

While there are a number of benefits of using data analytics in healthcare, there are also going to be some challenges. One of the biggest issues that companies need to focus on is getting the right software applications in place.

We talked about some of the biggest ways that big data can influence healthcare. There are a number of IoT applications in the healthcare sector, which have been gaining popularity in recent years.

In this article, we share doctor opinions about EHRs and tips for creating/implementing a successful EHR system. But before we get to the common EHR challenges healthcare providers face, let’s first answer the question: What are EHRs?

What are EHRs?

EHRs, EMRs and PHRs are often used interchangeably. Though they serve similar functions ― storing and centralizing data from patients’ charts, ― they are not the same. Let’s find out their differences.

Insights from this data can be very useful, but they must be organized and structured properly.

  EHR EMR PHR
What’s stored? Clinical data from all the providers involved in a patient’s care A patient’s medical history and clinical data provided within one medical office Clinical data from all the providers involved in a patient’s care   Information patients themselves   Data from wearables
Who manages? All authorized healthcare providers Intra-office providers Patients

Electronic health records (EHRs)

An electronic health record, or simply an EHR, is a digital alternative to a patient’s paper chart, providing a total overview of a patient’s medical history. Due to the collaborative nature of EHRs, data from patient records can be shared across different practices. This allows practitioners to:

  • Quickly access patients’ vitals and track patient data over time to ensure timely and accurate diagnosis
  • Decrease duplicate testing and medical errors
  • Improve care coordination
  • Prescribing and managing medicines safely
  • Encourage active patient participation

Electronic medical records (EMRs)

An EMR system offers the same functionalities as an EHR system. The difference lies in the sharing capabilities. EMRs are designed to be shared within one practice only. This means patients can’t move their records with them from one medical office to another like hospitals, pharmacies, labs, and emergency rooms.

In simple words, an EMR is a digital remake of a patient’s paper chart that doesn’t usually travel outside the practice.

Personal health records (PHRs)

Just as EHRs, personal health records include medical information from all providers involved in a patient’s care. The peculiarity of PHRs is that patients are responsible for managing as well as updating their own health records, meaning PHRs store data from healthcare providers as well as from health monitoring devices and patients themselves.

Now that you have a snapshot of the differences between EMR, EHR, and PHR, let’s talk about how to create a doctor-friendly EHR system.

What do doctors want from EHRs?

The majority of physicians (56%) say EHR software decreases professional efficiency, according to the Physicians Foundation Survey of America’s Physicians. A study by AAPF says that EHRs are the reason why doctors feel stressed, burn out, and get frustrated. Shouldn’t this be the opposite?

Plus, Stanford Medicine states that only 18% of doctors are very satisfied with their current EHR system, 40% see more EHR challenges than benefits, and 59% want significant improvements in EHRs. It’s a scary reality. But we’re here to help. Below are our top tips on how to build a successful EHR system from the ground up.

#1 Craft a minimalist, relevant, and clear design

A poor UI increases screen time and contributes to inefficiencies. To prove the words, here’s statistics by Stanford Medicine: Nearly three out of four PCPs (72%) think that improving EHRs’ user interfaces could best address EHR challenges in the immediate future.

When designing a user interface, pay attention to what elements you include and what elements you don’t. You should also carefully choose icons, images, colors, and typography. An important factor of creating a good design is user feedback. It’s critical to improving your UX/UI as well as the system itself.

#2 Offer a frustration-free user experience

Out of 31 minutes for a patient, doctors spend 19 minutes interacting with an EHR system, which is nearly 61% of time spent on patient care. And what about first-year doctors? They spend as much as 43% of their working time on electronic health records.

Why does it take that long? Much of a problem comes from cumbersome UX. Therefore, you should avoid complexity in design and provide frustration-free experience. For this, make sure your EHR system:

  • Offers all the functionality necessary to get the job done
  • Always behave the same
  • Gives quick access to common functionality

Additionally, provide tutorials, step-by-step guides, pictures, and pre-recorded videos on how to use your EHR. This will help healthcare providers learn to use the software efficiently. Remember, it isn’t easy to rethink how your clinic has been operating for many years so make the digital shift as smooth as possible.

#3 Provide clinically important features

Unfortunately, almost half of doctors (44%) consider an EHR a data storage, not a powerful clinical tool that performs necessary and clinically important functions. Nearly one out of ten providers (8%) think the opposite.

Make sure your EHR system is more than simply a data storage. It should contain functionality such as e-prescribing, order management, digital charting, mobile access, in-app billing, appointment scheduling, and analytics & reporting.

4# Focus on sharing capabilities

EHRs should be a sharing medium, allowing healthcare providers to easily share a patient’s records with other providers including pharmacies, lab providers, and emergency rooms. Sadly, achieving complete EHR interoperability can be a real challenge because of high costs of integration, lack of a nationally uniform patient identifier, and poor language and communication standards across different EHRs.

Apart from the above-mentioned things, you should also:

  • Develop an EHR with scalability in mind/choose an off-the-shelf solution that can scale
  • Make sure your product meets privacy and security requirements
  • Get feedback from potential users (i.e. doctors. nurses, and patients ― all groups within your office) so you can better understand their overall goals, pain points, and needs and head in the right direction

Healthcare needs IT transformation

A well-designed EHR system can be a powerful clinical tool for providing a better patient experience and improving your healthcare practice. It enables healthcare professionals to focus on their core activities without being bogged down with unimportant tasks, administration, or documentation.

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