Posted in EHRs

Larger providers eager to modernize EHRs

Chris Nerney
Chris Nerney, Contributing Writer |
Larger providers eager to modernize EHRs

Nearly one-third of mid-sized to large healthcare practices are actively looking to buy electronic health records (EHR) systems with advanced functionality, according to a new survey.
“Thirty percent of practices with over 11 clinicians expect to replace their current system by 2021 for customization issues,” reports Black Book Research.
Of those practices with plans to replace their EHRs in the next three years, 93 percent said they wanted an EHR that supported “cloud-based mobile solutions for on-demand data with access to practice actionable insight into financial performance, compliance tracking and contractual quality goals.”  
Almost as popular (at 87 percent) was telehealth/virtual visit support, followed by speech recognition solutions for hands-free data entry, at 82 percent.
Together these technologies address some of the most frustrating issues facing healthcare providers trying to transition to value-based care amid increasing competition, decreasing margins, uncertainty about the fate of federal health insurance programs, onerous reporting requirements, and more demanding, digitally savvy consumers.
To that last point, Black Book's 2018 survey of healthcare consumers showed that 91 percent of patients under age 50 gravitate toward digitally based practices, particularly those with:

  • Advanced features
  • Connectivity with other providers
  • Comprehensive patient portals that enable easy access via phones and devices 

"The technology expectations of upcoming generations will likely then contribute to the gradual demise of independent, solo physician practices if they do not invest and provide what healthcare consumers clearly want," Doug Brown, managing partner of Black Book, said in a statement.  
Unfortunately, even basic EHR functionality is a challenge for smaller practices. Black Book says that 88 percent of small practices (six or less clinicians) still aren't optimizing advanced EHR tools such as patient engagement, secure messaging, decision support and electronic data sharing.
“The smaller the practice, the less likely they are to use advanced IT tools, and that is where EHR frustration among small practices is generally focused," Brown said.   
The good news is that 93 percent of all practices with an installed, functional system “frequently or always” use three basic EHR tools: data repository, order entry, and results review.