The EHR Satisfaction Gap: Is Lack of Relevant Training the Real Culprit?


December 26th, 2019

A new study reveals that the culprit behind the EHR satisfaction gap is directly related to lack of training not the design of the software.

ehr satisfaction gap

While many have long blamed the user experience as the biggest contributor to the EHR satisfaction gap, a new study puts the onus on training. With specialized training and education, clinicians may become more satisfied with their software once they understand all its capabilities.

About the Study

The KLAS’ Arch Collaborative completed the study, polling over 72,000 clinicians in more than 150 hospitals and health systems. The study sought to uncover the real roots of dissatisfaction. Many researchers had the perspective that EHRs have too many shortcomings. While other studies have validated user experience as a reason for dissatisfaction, it’s far from the only one.

The study found that many clinicians didn’t know how to optimize their EHR. The resolution? Invest more in training and education for users. If providers could focus more on how to use the EHR to fit their needs, then there would be higher adoption and efficiencies.

The different user experiences that physicians may have when using an EHR isn’t really about the software’s design but rather their mastery of it.

For EHRs to be a tool that enables better care, hospitals and healthcare systems should put less emphasis on the software’s usability and more on features that offer customization for users. When clinicians know how to successfully use the platform, then it becomes a valuable asset. The clear path to this is with better training.

satisfaction gap EHR

Developing EHR Education Programs

Any organization using an EHR, especially large ones, needs to develop an EHR education program. In the study, overall satisfaction of the EHR increased significantly with every additional hour of training. Organizations that only provided four hours of education were left mostly with frustrated users.

Training and education should support EHR personalization. Clinicians are certainly used to a high level of customization when it comes to personal technology. Why should they expect anything less on the job?

EHR Dissatisfaction Leads to Burnout

The EHR satisfaction gap is certainly a contributor to physician burnout. In a study published by the Mayo Clinic, a link was found between a physician’s rating of EHR usability and burnout. The higher the physician scored usability, the lower the odds of burnout, and vice versa.

Thus, training and education on EHR usage could be a buffer for burnout as well. If clinicians feel as though the technology, they are provided is insufficient, this could cause extra work, lost productivity, and worry.

The Greatest Predictor of EHR User Experience

The KLAS study determined that the greatest predictor of the EHR user experience is how users rate the quality of their training. It’s not the tool itself or how much money is spent. With inadequate training, physicians are three-and-a-half more times to report that their EHR does not deliver quality care.

The user interface certainly matters. But the slickest platform won’t become a reliable tool of a physician without the proper training. With professional software in almost any other industry, training has long been seen as the gateway to adoption. Healthcare needs to start embracing this user-centric view.

With this approach, the EHR satisfaction gap could close considerably. The power of technology is only as good as the user behind it. And just as clinicians train for years to use medical tools, they need the same kind of support when infusing technology into their workflows.

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