New Study Reveals EHR-Related Malpractice Suits On The Rise

More than 90% of hospitals and 80% of physicians’ offices now have electronic health records (EHRs) – and while the digitization of medicine has improved patient safety, it also has a dark side. Today The Doctors Company, the nation’s largest physician owned medical malpractice insurer, published a new study showing that EHR-related malpractice suits are on the rise.

The study reveals that claims in which EHRs are a factor grew from just 2 from 2007 through 2010 to 161 from 2011 through December 2016. Typically, the EHR is a contributing factor in a claim, rather than the primary cause, according to David B. Troxel, MD, study author and medical director at The Doctors Company.

It’s the second study of its kind by The Doctors Company, which recognized early on that despite the potential of EHRs to advance the practice of good medicine and patient safety, there would be unanticipated consequences from this rapidly adopted new technology. The latest research compares 66 claims made from July 2014 through December 2016with the results of the first study of 97 claims from 2007 through June 2014.

Medical Document Services of Kansas, LLC (MDS) is a Wichita, Kansas healthcare document service specializing in Medical Billing, Medical Transcription, Scribe Services, and AzaleaHealth EHR.   We provide efficient, accurate, affordable quality services for hospitals, clinics, and facilities of all sizes.   Call 866-777-7264 today, or visit our website for more information.  We have education programs in Medical Scribe Specialists. #MedicalTranscription #AzaleaHealthEHR #RevenueCycleManagement #MDSofKansas #MedicalBillingService #MedicalScribes

Doctors Complain EHRs Destroy the Patient Encounter

Transcription provides the clear, cost-effective solution to the on-going crisis in healthcare documentation.

JOHNSON CITY, TN – EHRs continue to adversely affect the doctor-patient relationship, according to a new article published in Medscape.  The article (requires free membership with Medscape, click here), titled “Doctors are Talking: EHRs Destroy the Patient Encounter”, describes in detail the toll EHRs are taking on both physicians and patients.

The article cites three main physician gripes:

1. EHRs have made the patient encounter “far more annoying and complex than it ever was before.”

2. EHRs “make (physicians) feel like data entry clerks, with a computer telling them how to practice medicine.”

3. EHRs “erode the doctor-patient relationship by creating a barrier between the two.”

Scribes – A  Good, But Not Best, Solution

The article continues with a discussion of the pros and cons of using an in-office Scribe.  While some physicians favored the use of Scribes, others vehemently opposed it.  As one physician commented, “We have to hire a person to deal with the already expensive EHR.  At the end of the day, we are still worse off than before we had the EHR forced on us.”

Another physician added, “So adding another $25,000/year employee on top of the $80,000 for the EHR is the ‘happy’ solution?” a doctor asked. “I am not the government with unlimited money.”

MTSOs Are Offsite Scribes

In contrast to the more expensive approach of onsite scribes is the model of the offsite transcription vendor, which is a superior option for three key reasons:

1. Deep history and familiarity with the doctors’ and their clinical documentation preferences and style.

2. Strong expertise in medical language terminology and usage.

3. Significantly lower expense than onsite scribes, with no lost time for holidays or sick days.

EHR Vendors: Barrier or Facilitator? 

Despite the clear advantages of offsite transcription,  it cannot be implemented without the cooperation of EHR vendors, which are the gatekeepers for the implementation of the all-important interface for importing transcribed notes — or sections of notes — into the EHR’s patient record.  In many cases, interfaces remain expensive, non-standardized, and difficult to implement — all of which act as a deterrent to implementation.

“The high barriers to entry for getting an interface in place limits the options many physicians have regarding the clinical documentation workflow,” said Mark Christensen, CEO of WebChartMD.  “We’re asking EHR companies to join us in making it possible for physicians to choose the documentation modality best suited to them and their practice of patient care.  If physicians prefer some modality other than dictation, that’s their choice.  But if their preference is dictation and transcription, we’re asking EHR companies to remove the financial and technological barriers that restrict a physician’s ability to make that choice.”

For more information, or to dialogue further on this topic, contact Mark Christensen directly at or 1-423-343-5702.  

Medical Document Services of Kansas, LLC (MDS) is a Wichita, Kansas healthcare document service specializing in Medical Transcription, Revenue Cycle Management, AzaleaHealth EHR, and REAL-TIME solutions with Medical Scribes.   We provide efficient, accurate, affordable quality services for hospitals, clinics, and facilities of all sizes. Call 866-777-7264 today, or visit our website for more information.  We have education programs in Medical Scribe Specialists and Healthcare Documentation Specialists.

Do EHR’s have a negative impact on doctor-patient encounters?

What do you think about the doctor-patient relationship?  Tell us about your last patient visit with your physician.  How long was the visit?  Were all of your issues addressed?  Did you have your doctor’s complete attention?  Was he/she frustrated?

“MedScape’s “EHR Report 2012” survey (access requires free MedScape registration) of over 21,000 physicians found that 30% of respondents reported EHRs had a negative impact on the doctor-patient relationship. Of those, 80% said it was due to less eye contact with patients and 75% said there was less conversational time. One physician cited said, “I feel like I’m treating the computer and not the patient.  There’s more focus on documentation than on the patient during the patient visit.”

Increased dissatisfaction and decreased productivity.  

A March 2013 survey conducted by the American College of Physicians and AmericanEHR Partners found that physicians who were very satisfied with their EHR dropped by 6% while those reporting to be “very dissatisfied” increased by 10%.  A total of 34% of physicians now report being “very dissatisfied” with the EHRs, up from 19% in 2010.  Other key points include:

* The ACP’s summary noted that “survey responses also indicated that it is becoming more difficult to return to pre-EHR implementation productivity. In 2012, 32% of the responders had not returned to normal productivity compared with 20% in 2010.”

* Alan Brookstone, MD, co-founder of AmericanEHR Partners, said that “basic functions, such as documentation, continue to be an issue for many physicians.”

Why This is Important”

“For medical transcription service organizations, these studies reinforce why hundreds of thousands of healthcare providers continue to prefer dictation and transcription as their primary method of generating their clinical documentation.  Our responsibility as healthcare professionals is to proactively inform our clients that dictation and transcription have important advantages over EHR-based templating – especially in relation to physician productivity and a physician’s ability to connect with his or her patients.”