A new discussion paper from the Institute of Medicine argues that the health IT industry should allow reviews and comparisons of electronic health record products if it wants to avoid formal regulation by FDA, FierceHealthIT reports.
The authors write, "With EHRs, unlike other consumer product areas, there has been little opportunity for cross-vendor comparison, which has stifled the evolution of this technology."
Barriers for Comparing EHRs
The report notes that there is nowhere for health IT users to publicly share their experiences with different EHR products and that EHR vendors often prohibit users from publicly discussing their problems with their EHR system or sharing screenshots.
According to the report, barriers to EHR users reporting problems with product usability include:
- Vendors' fears about liability issues;
- A lack of trust in the impartiality of the group collecting data on EHR issues;
- The time needed to generate a report about EHR issues;
- Skepticism about the usefulness of reporting; and
- The amount of reports that might be generated.
In addition to helping health care providers choose an EHR product, developing metrics to compare user experience will help drive product improvement, according to the report.
The authors recommend subdividing EHR ratings for each modality to allow health care providers to compare only the products they need.
The report also offers several suggestions for gathering and reporting user experiences, such as using point-of-use reporting and having third parties conduct randomized user surveys (Bird, FierceHealthIT, 9/20).