More importantly, the systems don't all "talk" to each other, so there's not necessarily a seamless transition of records from one doctor to another or from a hospital to a doctor.
The implementation of electronic health records has also been more expensive than many initially expected, according to the study.
"Most physicians prefer [electronic health records] over paper," Friedberg said. "It makes it easier to access patient information from home or far away. It's easier to track performance metrics. But physicians feel the time spent on data entry is time wasted. And the user interfaces are not well designed for a physician busy with patient care. It seems there may be some fundamental problems with the technology that still need to be solved."
Hoven agreed: "[Electronic health records] have to be useable and have to be more intuitive. They have to make workflow easier, not more complicated."
One of the report's authors said the findings provide fodder for future changes to electronic health records.
"The RAND report was very successful in pointing us in several directions," said Dr. Jay Crosson, group vice president for professional satisfaction, care delivery and payment for the AMA. "The intensity of feeling on the [electronic health records] issue was a little bit surprising. I think we'll likely be working with the vendor community and maybe the government to improve [electronic health records]. We need to increase awareness among vendors that physicians need the ability to use [electronic health records] effectively and quickly."
Learn more about electronic health records from HealthIT.gov.
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