EMR's Suck

EMR’s suck.

That is pretty much a statement I think most medical professionals can get behind. I get extremely frustrated with any EMR system that I have used.

Examples of stupidity in various EMR's that I have used, in no particular order.

  • All text is a monospaced font that CAN ONLY BE CAPITALIZED! (but, like, why?)
  • 8 clicks to add a diagnosis, only if you already know the exact phrasing of said diagnosis.
  • 5 submenus to find the exact check box you want (so instead I just free text, why even have the check boxes)
  • Pop up menus that do not appear in standardized place due to seemingly random addition of other options
  • If you make a mistake and select and ICD 9 code instead of ICD 10 you have to delete your whole note and start over

These are just a few that I came up with off the top of my head. I don't really know the reasons why all of these programs are the complete worst but I suspect a few things.

Too Broad

These programs are trying to be the everything to everyone. They have to have all of the possible options for every little thing someone may need. It is helpful when they are at least for a specific profession, physical therapy vs nursing, but they are still very broad.

In physical therapy a lot of the programs try to force you to pick a region you are working on, like the knee. Then it will try and show you information that is mostly only relevant for the knee. But, they then make it very difficult to add a lot of other things you might typically add that is not knee specific. And if you have accidentally picked the wrong diagnosis at first, or wrong region, they don't always make it easy to switch things up to the proper thing.

Not Efficient

Because everything is built broadly the programs are not efficient. They are built for all options in mind so it takes 5 submenus to find the specifically thing you want instead of finding a way to make the stuff you want easily accessible. The program should make an effort to have as few clicks as possible to get to documentation. 5 of the 8 clicks I mentioned earlier to add a diagnosis are completely different pop up windows. That is ridiculous.

Reinforce Bad Habits

Many programs basically invite someone to write a poorly written note. You may be unable to copy and paste between areas or previous notes so are forced to rewrite information. I tend to take some shortcuts in this case, I don't know about you. Another example is having to look through old charts (which takes many, unnecessary clicks) to find the plan from last treatment or last reevaluation when that info could just pop up somewhere obvious in their new note. I remember really liking how WebPT showed the last assessment next to the text box for their new assessment so that you remember what you (or another therapist) put last time.

Do Too Many Things (Or Too Few)

These programs are trying to be good at documentation, billing, scheduling and other clinical things at the same time. If one of these parts break down it becomes a much worse program. But, you also don't want to buy 4 different programs to do each things that don't communicate well with each other.

Rant over.

I don't have any solutions at this point, but I just want to point out how frustrated I have been with all of these programs that I have to spent many hours after hours using.