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KLAS: Small practices want more usable EHRs, not more bells and whistles

As the industry moves beyond mere EHR adoption and meaningful use, small practices of 10 physicians or fewer told researchers that they want their EMRs to do more than just meet regulatory requirements, a new KLAS report on small physician practices finds. But first, they want the basics to just work better. That means tailoring usability for them and improving customer service.


Over the past year, small physician practices have varied greatly on what they think of their EMR vendors — some by as much as 10 percentage points. KLAS discovered, however that all-in-all, small physician practices want their EMR and practice management vendors to figure out how to meet unique needs for functionality, usability, and vendor support and guidance — before they do anything else for them.

The KLAS study, titled “Small Practice, Ambulatory EMR/PM, 2019,” also found that practices want ease of use and better customer service as some of their top priorities.

When it comes to this issue, there is a vast disconnect between vendors and these small physician groups, the study found. Only five percent of the practices named new technology as their top priority, while 75 percent of vendors see providing new technology as the top priority.  


As part of this research, KLAS interviewed representatives from AdvancedMD, Allscripts, Aprima, athenahealth, Azalea Health, CareCloud, Cerner, CureMD, eMDs, Greenway Health, Kareo, NextGen Healthcare, Quest Diagnostics, and Virence Health (GE Healthcare) to determine how well the vendors were aligned with the small practices’ needs and what is driving dissatisfaction among small groups.

Most vendors named usability as one of their top three priorities.

The physician call for better usability coincides with a greater industry trend in that direction. Comments closed Jan. 28 on the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s draft recommendation to make electronic health records more user friendly, with support over the recommendations and a host of cautions that included going slowly with changes and creating panels to help oversee them.


“The most important attribute is product functionality because we need the product to do what it is supposed to do,” said a practice manager in the KLAS study. “That is what the doctors live off of every day, so the options and the functionality have to be there for the doctors to carry on with their day. The next most important thing is the ease of use because physicians want the system to be easy. They want fewer clicks.” 

Diana Manos is a Washington, D.C.-area freelance writer specializing in healthcare, wellness and technology.

Twitter: @Diana_Manos
Email the writer: [email protected]

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