Nurses have significantly higher satisfaction rates in working with electronic health records systems than physicians, according to a just-released research study.
The report, by Orem, Utah-based KLAS Research, says that two-thirds of nurses are happy with the EHR their organization uses, 20 percent are frustrated, and about 18 percent are indifferent. The KLAS report seeks to understand opportunities to improve the nurse experience and what other clinicians can learn from the nurses.
The report is significant because nurses outnumber physicians in the nation four to one, KLAS reports. Feedback from nurses in the report shows they have different experiences using EHRs than physician do, and report fewer issues with usability.
The most satisfied nurses are those working outside the United States, who don’t deal with the nation’s documentation requirements, and they are closely followed by nurses in children’s hospitals, says Taylor Davis, director of strategy and development at KLAS, and one of the report’s authors.
Nurses at community hospitals with fewer than 500 beds are the only organizations that have a lower EHR experience score than physicians. These hospitals have complex EHRs but not the resources to appropriately support or upgrade their records systems. “They have to support a broad array of care, but their support staff is more limited,” Taylor explains. “They don’t understand they have more control over their success than they think.”
KLAS asked nurses and other providers to rate their agreement to 11 different statements about the EHRs they use, and nurses reported higher levels of agreement satisfaction than other providers for every question.
“Nurses report particularly high levels of agreement that the EHR is reliable, has needed internal integration, keeps patients safe and has the functionality needed for their specific clinical focus,” KLAS reports.
Areas for improvement still exist, particularly integrating with outside organizations, as less than half of surveyed nurses say their external integration capability meets expectations.
Only half of the nurses agree to some extent that the EHR makes them as efficient as possible, and slightly more than half say the records systems give them the analytics, quality measures and reporting that they need.
Nurses also believe by a wide margin that EHRs give safer care, with 67 percent in agreement, while fewer than half of other provider respondents agree. Further, there is an 18 percentage point difference between nurses and other providers on the EHR’s ability to deliver patient-centered care.
“For an undetermined reason, nurses appear to get more patient-focused insights from the EHR than other providers,” Taylor says. “Organizations may benefit from examining why this is the case and how nurses use the EHR to benefit patients.”