When Joseph Robison's practice purchased its second EHR several years ago, the orthopedic hand surgeon and his colleagues at Celebration Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Institute looked forward to a long and prosperous relationship.
And when CMS released meaningful use standards in 2011, the Celebration, Fla.-area practice hoped that its new companion would not only help the practice attest for monetary incentives, but help physicians improve efficiency.
But instead, signs of trouble started to emerge.
It was difficult to customize the templates for the provider notes, and "very" difficult to customize how the system worked, Robison recalls. "We realized that in a 10-provider practice, we only had two doctors who could stomach the EHR, and we had two doctors who went back to our [original] legacy system," says Robison. "After two and a half years of paying significant cash outlays, we began to get to the point that we had charts literally lining the halls of our office. We had three different systems all functioning and it was creating more work for our practice."
The practice finally reached the breaking point in early 2013 and made the decision to switch to SimplifyMD after looking at a few EHRs that offered two key things the old EHRs didn't: Microsoft Word templates that were easy to customize, and all-around ease of use.
Although the practice has only been using its new EHR for a few months, Robison says doctors are much happier.
"Every specialty, whether it's surgical or internal medicine, we all have a way we like to do our notes," says Robison. "The SimplifyMD product is very flexible and very customizable, and it was easy to adapt the system to the work flow of each physician."
Perhaps, like Robison was, you're having trouble making things work with your EHR or you've just lost your love for the technology, but you're not sure you should give up on it. Here are five good reasons for kicking it to the curb.
Reason #1: It's too hard to use
As Robison's practice knows, an EHR is only as good as it is able to make physicians more productive and better equipped to manage patients and coordinate care.
That's why internal medicine physician Amy Patel opted for a more streamlined, Web-based (also referred to as "cloud-based") EHR when she opened her solo practice, Jersey City Medical Care in Jersey City, N.J., in May, in lieu of the EHR she had worked with for several years in her previous practice.
"The old one requires the physician to make a lot of different templates for one note," says Patel, who now uses a CareCloud EHR. "With the CareCloud system, everything's right there. You can just input it and save one main template, and when your patient comes in, all your meaningful use data is there for the visit."
Family physician Jason Mitchell, director of the American Academy of Family Physicians' Center for Health IT, says work flow compatibility problems are among the main gripes he hears from members regarding EHRs.
"Some change is inevitable, but when you just can't get done what you need to [so you can] take care of patients, that's just a bad deal," says Mitchell. "And there are a number of systems where that's a problem."