- A sizable number of outpatient organizations are looking to replace EHRs and other IT tools with systems that better suit their needs or offer better value, a new Reaction Data report found.
- Among 153 ambulatory care providers, almost 40% are considering replacing existing IT tools — from EHRs (27%) to patient engagement (18%), revenue cycle management (12%) and population health (12%) products.
- Asked why they are shopping for new IT products, a third said their existing system doesn’t meet their needs, 20% cited better value with alternative options, 19% are unhappy with their current system’s service model and support, and 18% cited lack of new functionalities. Price or the need to align with another entity figured in about 5% of decisions to look for new solutions.
Providers still struggle to find the EHR tools that make them happy, a need that's becoming increasingly acute as more services shift to outpatient care delivery settings.
It’s well known that doctors struggle with EHR burnout and that poorly designed systems can play a role. A recent PLOS One report found that shortcomings in EHR design and functionality, workarounds and care team communications are undermining patient care and safety. In particular, clinicians complained of frustration over efforts to access information, with about half of those surveyed saying EHRs improved efficiency during rounds only some of the time.
Solutions firm Reaction Data's report suggests a growing market for IT products tailored to the needs of outpatient facilities.
For providers considering new IT tools, the three things that matter most are ease of use (25%), features and functionality (23%) and interoperability and integration (21%), according to Reaction Data. Other factors include vendor alignment with the provider’s business strategy, the potential for increased cash flow, ease of switching, low purchase price and end-user preference.
"We currently have one system for an EHR and one system for billing that are not integrated, and are not equipped for the current needs of the practice," a pediatrician told researchers. "We are spending twice as much time as is necessary to capture all the billing necessary and … the new integration should help improve this."
Another respondent cited "significant" issues with medical records during system updates, including lost records.
Not all outpatient providers are planning to switch EHRs. Of those planning to keep using existing systems, half said they are doing so because they like the product. But nearly a fifth attributed that decision to their parent organization (18%) or the cost of switching (17%). Another 14% said changing EHRs would disrupt business, and 1% cited subsidies with their current vendor.