Health IT Developers Dispute Value of AMA's EHR Ratings


The electronic health record rating system recently unveiled by the AMA and MedStar Health is flawed and of little value to physicians, EHR vendors told me recently.

The American Medical Association, one of the country's largest physician groups, and MedStar Health's National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare, a research group for health IT issues, recently released the results of their ongoing study on how EHRs being used in the meaningful use program are designed and user-tested.

The EHR User-Centered Design Evaluation Framework was meant to draw attention to flaws in the federal EHR Certification Program, which approves technologies for using in the meaningful use program. The framework highlights how few certified EHR systems meet all federal requirements for user-centered design.

“Our goal is to shine light on the low-bar of the certification process and how EHRs are designed and user-tested in order to drive improvements that respond to the urgent physician need for better designed EHR systems,” Steve Stack, president of the AMA, said in a release.

However, a representative of the Electronic Health Record Association, an industry group for EHR vendors, said that the framework doesn't actually evaluate the usability of an EHR, just the documentation EHR vendors must submit for certification, and therefore may have little value for health-care providers seeking to purchase a new EHR system.

EHRs developed by Allscripts and McKesson received the highest ratings, according to the AMA. EHRs developed by eClinicalworks, Epic Systems and Greenway received the lowest ratings.


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