AMA wants to know if physicians are satisfied with their EHRs
■ The Association launches a joint survey with AmericanEHR Partners to find out what members like and dislike about their systems and vendors.
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The American Medical Association is asking members who use electronic health records to participate in a survey that will add to a growing database of EHR system rankings. Physicians can use the reviews to help with their purchase decisions.
AmericanEHR Partners, founded by the American College of Physicians, has a free, online, vendor-neutral database of EHR product and vendor rankings based on satisfaction reviews submitted by its member organizations, which have more than 700,000 physicians. The AMA signed on as a member in May.
The survey is the same one all member organizations can share with their members, said Alan Brookstone, MD, a family physician and co-founder of AmericanEHR Partners. It recently was expanded to 150 questions to include feedback on functionality needed for stage 2 of the meaningful use incentive program. The surveys are completed by the members of AmericanEHR Partners’ organizations.
The questions use a five-level rating system that looks at various aspects of EHRs. The results are collated to assign a collective rating for each category. The site has top 10 lists of various products based on the ratings. Only those systems that have at least 10 surveys are given a collective rating score and are used in the rankings.
The database can be queried according to practice size, Dr. Brookstone said. As more specialty societies sign on as partners, users will be able to sort the database by speciality. Data collected by AMA members will be used for the Association’s research and advocacy efforts.
The database of rankings is free and open to anyone who registers on the site. It can be used by physicians who are in the market for a new EHR, or by vendors looking for feedback on how to improve systems or build new ones, Dr. Brookstone said.
“Advances in EHR systems must accommodate a variety of physician practices if the technology is to meet its full potential to streamline workflow and help deliver better care to patients,” said AMA President Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD, in a prepared statement. “Survey input from physicians will help guide the AMA and AmericanEHR Partners in our shared commitment to foster advances that help physicians use health IT to successfully improve health care delivery.”
An Institute of Medicine report published in September underscored the importance of user feedback to improve EHR systems and help physicians in the market for new systems. It called for the creation of a central hub for reviews and feedback from a variety of sources that is maintained by a government agency or trusted private entity. It said the site could link to other resources and reviews such as AmericanEHR Partners, which it mentioned by name.
The AMA started soliciting its members to participate in early October, and within two weeks AmericanEHR Partners received more than 250 responses for reviews on more than 50 products, Dr. Brookstone said. The responses were added to the thousands of reviews on the site of hundreds of EHR products. AmericanEHR Partners does not endorse EHR products. The ratings and rankings are based solely on the reviews submitted by members. Vendors can partner with AmericanEHR and pay to have a listing on the site but that does not affect their ratings or rankings.
AMA members who complete their surveys before Nov. 8 will be entered into a drawing for an Apple iPad or one of five $100 Visa gift cards. However, members may take the survey after that date.