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New Survey Offers Insight on Efforts to Improve EHR Usability

AmericanEHR Partners release survey data results showing EHR System ease of use

PHILADELPHIA, June 23, 2016—A new report from AmericanEHR Partners, "Survey on Physician Use of EHR Systems - Ease of Use Baseline Data," is based on a survey of nearly 1,400 clinicians and suggests that the while they may seem dissatisfied with the usability of their electronic health record (EHR) systems,a breakdown of data offers insight into how systems may be improved. 

AmericanEHR Partners provides comprehensive information to support clinicians in the comparison, selection and use of EHRs to improve health care delivery. It was founded by the American College of Physicians (ACP) and Cientis Technologies.

When survey respondents were asked to rate the usability of their EHR system when performing specific tasks, there was great variability in terms of which tasks were rated as easy or very easy and which were rated as difficult or very difficult.  More than two thirds of survey respondents reported that it was easy or very easy to record smoking status (73.2 percent), refill a prescription (69.5 percent), or generate and transmit an electronic prescription (68.7 percent).  At the same time, approximately half of the respondents reported that it was difficult or very difficult to import a patient’s medication list (51 percent) or reconcile an imported medication list (49 percent).  Differences were also reported between specialties, with primary care respondents generally reporting a higher percentage of easy or very easy tasks across nearly all the activities, as opposed to other specialists.

“This type of data is very useful in showing that there are many different factors that need to be considered when examining EHR usability,” said Shari Erickson, MPH, ACP’s Vice President of Governmental Affairs and Medical Practice.  “We need to focus on figuring out how these data can best be translated into developing or modifying EHR systems to make them truly helpful to physicians and practices.”

When asked about their overall satisfaction with their EHR systems, respondents’ answers were strongly tied to the ease of use of the system. A significant majority, 89 percent, of those who indicated that they were satisfied or very satisfied with their EHR system also reported that their EHR system was easy or very easy to use. Conversely, for those respondents who indicated that they were dissatisfied with their EHR system, 90 percent also reported that their EHR system was difficult or very difficult to use.

“From this survey of data it appears that increasing the usability of these systems would greatly increase satisfaction with EHRs,” concluded Erickson.  “Increased satisfaction should be in everyone’s interest, in order to truly see the benefits of improving patient care and practice efficiency that EHRs can hold.”

“The most positive indicator in this report is the widespread increase in ease of use over time,” said Thomas Stringham, Co-Founder & CEO of Cientis Technologies. “The longer respondents have been using an EHR, the higher the percentage who reported that activities were easy or very easy to complete. Although EHR satisfaction has long been a contentious issue for clinicians, ease of use appears to be trending upwards as the market matures.”

To find out more information or to download a complete copy of the report, visit the American EHR website.


About AmericanEHR Partners
AmericanEHR Partners is a free online resource designed to aid the medical community with the comparison, selection, implementation, and effective use of health information technology and electronic health records. AmericanEHR Partners has over 26,000 registered members and was founded by the American College of Physicians and Cientis Technologies in 2010. AmericanEHR is supported by 19 partner medical societies and seven partner health IT organizations. It does not endorse any electronic health record vendor. For more information on AmericanEHR Partners, visit

About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 143,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.

About Cientis Technologies
Cientis Technologies is an international developer of online communities, web-based tools and apps to assist clinicians and their medical practice teams achieve optimal use of health care information technologies (HIT). Cientis conducts syndicated research to provide clinicians, health care consultants, policy makers, pharma, technology professionals and consumers with key insights surrounding health care technology adoption, satisfaction and market share. For more information on Cientis, visit