News
January 29, 2020

Regenstrief researcher: “Frustration with EHRs disappointing”

Regenstrief researcher: “Frustration with EHRs disappointing”

Dr. Paul Dexter responds to study from Yale School of Medicine

In a recent study published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, physicians gave electronic health records systems very low ratings for user experience. Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University School of Medicine researcher and EHR expert Paul Dexter, M.D., said he found it disappointing that clinician frustration with these systems has not improved more given the extensive investment in these systems over the last decade.

In the study by researchers from Yale School of Medicine, EHR systems scored in the bottom 9th percentile of technologies when evaluated for usability. Dr. Dexter noted this study is consistent with other research, and while this particular study didn’t directly prove that EHR frustration increases clinician burnout, it does contribute to evidence for this belief.

“I think previous studies have demonstrated that despite the fact that clinical physicians are frustrated, they do see the potential of these systems,” said Dr. Dexter. “Clinicians overwhelmingly do not want to go back to paper-based records.”  He also notes that EHRs are often equated with underlying administrative requirements such as billing or the capture of quality indicators, which can cause resentment.

He also thinks the usability issue could partially be a byproduct of a single vendor trying to handle all aspects of medical care through software.

“Typically, you’ve got one company that’s trying to manage the users of the laboratory systems, the radiology, the registration, the pharmacy. It’s no wonder they can’t get everything perfect,” said Dr. Dexter. “If you had third-party software that could be installed on top of the base EHR system similar to an iPhone, it would be a competitive, capitalistic system that could improve options.”

Dr. Dexter has been a research scientist at Regenstrief for more than 20 years. His work focuses on adapting Regenstrief’s information systems for both clinical and research purposes. He also helped implement a robust research IT infrastructure. In addition to his role at Regenstrief, he is an associate professor of clinical medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine.

Read more on the study of EHR Usability here.

About Regenstrief Institute

Founded in 1969 in Indianapolis, the Regenstrief Institute is a local, national and global leader dedicated to a world where better information empowers people to end disease and realize true health. A key research partner to Indiana University, Regenstrief and its researchers are responsible for a growing number of major healthcare innovations and studies. Examples range from the development of global health information technology standards that enable the use and interoperability of electronic health records to improving patient-physician communications, to creating models of care that inform practice and improve the lives of patients around the globe.

Regenstrief Institute is celebrating 50 years of healthcare innovation. Sam Regenstrief, a successful entrepreneur from Connersville, Indiana, founded the institute with the goal of making healthcare more efficient and accessible for everyone. His vision continues to guide the institute’s research mission.

  • Paul Dexter

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