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Q&A: What makes a quality EHR?

Editor’s note: A 2016 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that for every hour physicians spend with patients, they spend two hours interfacing with their electronic health records (EHR). A different study found that 14% of physicians have experienced a potential medication error due to their EHR in the past month, and another 14% of physicians said that excessive EHR alerts have caused them to overlook something important.

Despite this, an AMA survey of 1,200 physicians found that 85% believed digital health solutions are an advantage to patient care. Hospitals and healthcare facilities need to be able to implement their EHRs to their full potential—not only to improve care quality, but to make sure it doesn’t suffer.

The following is an edited Q&A about the value of EHRs with Michael Sherling, MD, MBA, co-founder and chief medical officer at Modernizing Medicine, a company that specializes in EHR systems for specialty practices including dermatology, orthopedics, rheumatology, plastic surgery, and ophthalmology.

PSMJ: How many different types of EHR systems are on the market?
Sherling: When we started the company about six years ago, I’d say there were about 600 EHRs on the market. Literally every flavor of ice cream that you could think of.

Some were client-server based (hosted by the practice) and some of them were cloud-based (hosted remotely by the vendor). But what we’re seeing over time is a consolidation. I’d say there’s about 20 to 30 vendors who are likely going to get all of the market share over time from that 300–600. We [Modernizing Medicine] have ourselves about 10,000 providers.

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