10 EHR failure statistics: why you need to get it right first time

20% of EHR system installations could be considered a failure.

Although it is important to note this number may not be an exact figure given the imprecise nature of defining what is an EHR-related failure and a lack of more timely survey data directed at practise asking the question of whether they believed their EHR had failed on a general level. However, other data regarding certain negative EHR outcomes can illustrate the scope of how many practices are not getting it right the first time during the EHR selection process.

The following 10 EHR failure statistics that highlight the importance of getting it right first time:

EHR dissatisfaction

An EHR can fail by creating user dissatisfaction with an EHR can lead to a number of problems including reduced productivity and an overall lack of buy-in to organizational goals as they relate to the EHR system.

  • When doctors were asked if their EHR investment was worth the effort, resources and cost, “no” was the reply given by nearly 79% of respondents in practices with more than 10 physicians.
  • 73% of the largest practices would not purchase their current EHR system. The data show that 66% of internal medicine specialists would not purchase their current system. About 60% of respondents in family medicine would also make another EHR choice.
  • A study conducted by the Physician's Alliance of America showed that almost half of all EHR users feel less productive when using EHR. 

Find the right EHR first time round with this step-by-step EHR selection survival guide

Financial pressure

Failing to properly account for the costs and benefits of an EHR in the selection and planning phase can result in significant financial issues.  

  • 65% of users say their EHR systems resulted in financial losses for the practice. About 43% of internists and other specialists/subspecialists outside of primary care characterized the losses as significant.
  • 39 hospitals that recently invested in major EMR and revenue cycle system conversions, found “that increased expenses and slower patient volumes contributed to a median 10.1% decline in absolute operating cash flow and 6.1% reduction in days cash on hand in the install year.” However, the study did find that many hospitals were able to rebound from this downturn.   

Negative impact on clinical staff

EHR failures are also marked by lower job satisfaction, disruption in work flows and overall negative feelings toward the EHR’s role in the practice.

  • EHR use was tied to lower physician satisfaction as a result of the time spent on clerical tasks as well as higher rates of physician burnout. 
  • A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine shows “for every hour physicians provide direct clinical face time to patients, nearly 2 additional hours is spent on EHR and desk work within the clinic day.”  Further, outside office hours, “physicians spend another 1 to 2 hours of personal time each night doing additional computer and other clerical work.”
  • More than half of this survey's respondents reported their EHR was was the cause of a negative impact in their practice with regard to cost, productivity and efficiency.

Security matters

EHRs that do not properly secure healthcare data or insufficient security protocols can result in massive financial losses and losses in consumer trust.

  • Health data breaches cost the U.S. healthcare industry an estimated $6.2 billion.
  • According to Solutionary, a data security company, the healthcare industry leads all U.S. industries, accounting for 88% of all ransomware attacks in U.S. industries.

The statistics presented above should be viewed as an illustration of the problems that can arise from failure in planning, particularly when the planning process and implementation plan does not properly account for potential problems in the areas listed above.

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Jeff Green

About the author…

Jeff Green, MPH, JD works as a freelance writer and consultant in the Healthcare information Technology Space.

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Jeff Green