EHRs: A Look at Their Problems and Potential

The complaints about electronic health records are well known — they take time away from patients, their records don’t translate from one doctor to another, they create a glut of inaccessible information — all of which have led to a spike in physician burnout.

The topic made for hot discussion on Saturday at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Philadelphia, when panel experts touched on some of the trouble associated with poor EHR implementations.

EHRs “have been overpromised,” said Dr. Tariq Ahmad, an assistant professor in cardiovascular medicine at Yale University School of Medicine and the Yale New Haven Health System. “The entire point of these things was to be able to share data, but healthcare systems view data as something they need to hold on to, even to the point that most patients cannot get access to their data.”

Although the problems associated with EHR systems kick-started the conversation, the panelists agreed that the current capabilities and potential of the technology in the systems still make it a worthwhile investment for organizations when implemented properly. The panelists see two fixes — how the data is shared, and who touches the data — as a way forward, helping to pivot the primary focus of physicians back to their patients.


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