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Most ED Physicians, Administrators Unhappy with Technology Systems

BOSTON – A new survey suggests that the majority of emergency department physicians and administrative/nursing managers believe their hospitals rushed to purchase electronic health records and ED-related systems between 2010 and 2013 to avoid losing federal meaningful use dollars, yet the result has been falling productivity, rising liability and stalled connectivity.

The independent survey, conducted by Black Book, involved 738 ED administrative and nursing managers, as well as 1,104 ED physicians. The vast majority, 89%, expressed concerns about how EHRs and ED systems were selected and implemented.

While increasing overcrowding is causing problems for EDs, the survey reports that lack of Emergency Department Information System (EDIS) usability and interoperability to external providers isn’t helping matters. That’s why so many hospitals, 35% of those with more than 150 beds, are currently, or plan to replace their EDIS in 2016, Black Book reports.

The majority of replacements (69%) will be those now using enterprise EHR emergency modules, opting for best-of-breed EDIS systems that can integrate with the hospital's EHR, the survey adds.

Interestingly, ED physician and nursing staff are now being included in the EDIS decision, unlike a few years ago when the threat of losing government dollars forced hospitals to move as quickly as possible.

In 2010, Black Book surveys noted that only 7% of ED physicians and 2% of ED nursing staff were involved on the EDIS selection teams where enterprise EHRs were given as the only technology option for their respective EDs. In 2015, as well as in the 2016 pending EDIS selection processes, 70% of ED physicians and 16% of ED nurses said they feel as if they are playing a role.

While, 39% of hospitals with enterprise EHR emergency modules identify themselves as moderately to highly dissatisfied with their current EDIS, nearly all, 90%, ED managers and physicians complain that they are stuck with making hospital-wide generic EHR systems work, and/or they have been denied budget funds for 2016 EDIS replacements.

"Most best-of-breed EDIS solutions, not all, are fined tuned for the emergency department environment and workflows," said Doug Brown, Managing Partner of Black Book. "In contrast, enterprise EHR solutions have typically been very generic with difficult customization processes and long implementations for emergency departments."­

The survey was conducted from August through October of this year.