According to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), 97 percent of acute care hospitals are using electronic health record (EHR) technology that meets federal requirements. In light of National Nurses Week, HIMSS Analytics conducted a survey of more than 600 U.S. nurses on their views of EHRs and the ability of EHRs to promote patient safety.
Although almost three-quarters of the nurses surveyed see the benefits of EHR technology when it comes to improving safety and reducing medication errors, the results are not so positive when it comes to the percentage of nurses believing it eliminates duplicate work:
- 43 percent of all nurses
- 26 percent of floor/acute care nurses
While nurses’ perceptions of EHRs depend on which aspect of the technology is being discussed, the survey also reveals a lack of overwhelming belief that the technology frees up more time to spend with patients.
- 31% said EHRs allow them more time to spend with patients
- 38% said EHRs reduce time spent with patients
The consensus among nurses that EHRs improve patient safety is a strong first step, but freeing up time to improve patient engagement is also important. This is where the survey indicates improvement is needed.
While the results are mixed, the overarching benefits of EHRs for improved patient care and collaboration can’t be ignored. However, it’s clear that more needs to be done in order to help this technology fit in with nurse workflows, particularly involving duplicate documentation.
This problem may be corrected by getting nurses involved as early as implementation. Even though nurses are among the top users of EHR systems, 90 percent felt ignored during the implementation process. Ensuring that EHR systems are interoperable with other solutions and the processes fit within existing workflows should be considered essential to a successful implementation.
What other factors may help contribute to increasing nurse satisfaction with EHRs? How involved are nurses with EHR implementation at your hospital?