Hospitals Trying Out Different Strategies To Promote Use of EHRs

Hospitals seeking to qualify for federal health IT incentives are attempting a range of approaches to help physicians and other health care providers become accustomed to using electronic health record systems, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHRs will qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments.

Hurdles to Physician EHR Use

Hospitals have found that some physicians are resistant to using EHRs because the systems require them to change how they conduct patient visits.

For example, EHRs often prompt clinicians to ask questions in a specific order as they input data into the system. 

Different Approaches to Physician Training

To overcome obstacles to physician EHR use, some hospitals are providing training sessions that are:

  • Available at all hours of the day;
  • Comprised of small groups of up to four clinicians; or
  • Run by other physicians.

In addition, some hospitals are converting vacant buildings into training facilities and some are using computer programs to train physicians on EHR use. The health IT consulting firm Breakaway Group uses simulation programs to help health care providers learn how to input data into electronic systems.

Some hospitals are making significant financial investments in health IT training. For example, the Yale School of Medicine and the Yale-New Haven Health System have set aside about 3% of their five-year, $250 million budget for implementing an EHR system. Officials said the allocation could be as high as 10% after accounting for EHR training (Hobson, Wall Street Journal, 3/15).

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