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News of the Day ... In Perspective

12/2/2007

Electronic medical records frequently de-installed

Failure of electronic medical records (EMR) systems is not just lore, according to a study conduced by the Boston-based Medical Records Institute.

About 19% of respondents said they had experienced the de-installation of an EMR system in the past (12%), or are going through such an experience now (7%).

More than 8% have ripped out an EMR and gone back to paper. And 30% either have or have had a system that some clinicians refused to use.

When switching systems, the trend is more often to downgrade to less expensive, simpler systems than to upgrade to more costly, more complicated ones. “The more complicated a system is, the more difficult it is to learn and maintain it,” stated C. Peter Waegemann, chief executive officer of the Medical Records Institute. “It changes the workflow and (yet) it’s usually not sophisticated enough for the specialty needs.”

“If it’s been designed for everyone, for every specialty, you could almost throw it out,” he said. The most commonly cited barrier to EMR implementation was cost and lack of funding (Modern Health Care 10/30/07).

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