Common Challenges to EHR Adoption in GI Clinics and How to Avoid Them

Common Challenges to EHR Adoption in GI Clinics and How to Avoid Them

In the early 1990s, a trend in the shift from paper-based health records to electronic records started; this was in response to advances in technology as well as the advocacy of the Institute of Medicine in the United States. Over these 25 years, the names and terms used to represent the concept of electronic records have changed frequently while the basic idea has remained the same. Nowadays, the term “electronic health record” (EHR) is widely used for records adopted by clinicians, including in Gastroenterology clinics.

Though substantial progress has been made regarding EHR implementation, adoption, and use, especially in GI clinics, unfortunately, this has mostly been in an uncoordinated way rather than with a coordinated and logical approach. Many of the initial expectations regarding time efficiency, productivity, and increased quality of care have not been met or have only been partially realized, and “current EHRs still do not meet the needs of today’s rapidly changing healthcare environment”. Data duplication is still a prevailing issue and solutions are still sought even though this was expected to be solved by the uptake of EHRs. Only recently has there been any significant progress in the development of legal frameworks for patient privacy and confidentiality concerning EHR data.

While the benefits of EHR adoption in gastroenterology practices are evident, there are tangible and cultural barriers that hinder widespread implementation. Addressing these obstacles is crucial to accelerating EHR adoption in GI clinics. The following are the primary barriers that need to be overcome:

  1. Concerns about Cost

One significant hurdle for gastroenterology practices is the upfront cost of implementing EHR systems, impacting EHR adoption in GI clinics. As smaller centers with limited budgets, GIs often perceive the financial burden as insurmountable. To encourage adoption, EHR vendors must provide concrete data on return on investment (ROI), demonstrating the long-term benefits of improved care, increased operational efficiency, and the ability to attract younger healthcare workers who expect EHR systems.

  1. Perceptions about Reduced Flexibility and Time Management

Some physicians express concerns that EHRs may limit their flexibility and result in increased time consumption compared to traditional paper records, posing challenges in Gastroenterology EHR adoption. It is essential to address this perception by showcasing the flexibility and options offered by modern EHR systems. Contrary to popular belief, multiple staff members can work simultaneously in an EHR system, and the process of entering information can be customized to suit individual preferences. Furthermore, as government regulators and payers demand more data, EHRs become indispensable for efficient health information management.

  1. Resistance to Change and Established Habits

Resistance to change and deeply ingrained habits pose significant barriers to EHR adoption in GI practices, adding to the challenges in Gastroenterology EHR adoption. Physicians have traditionally relied on paper records and established routines that are difficult to break. However, with the emergence of younger physicians entering gastroenterology practices, there is an opportunity for cultural transformation. By establishing EHRs as the standard practice from the outset, emphasizing ease of use and efficiency, GI clinics can overcome this barrier and foster a culture that embraces technological advancements.

In conclusion, as healthcare is changing, adopting electronic health records (EHRs) is a big decision that needs careful thinking, especially in the context of EHR adoption in GI clinics. Challenges are there, but the benefits can be huge. Notably, expEDIum is all set with our upcoming launch of expEDIum Office EHR in the third quarter of 2024, addressing challenges specific to Gastroenterology EHR adoption. The first version of the product is poised towards gastroenterology practices and is expected to address key barriers and enhance operational efficiency. If you’re interested in improving the operations of your healthcare practice, feel free to reach out to the expEDIum team. Let’s work together to make healthcare and technology work seamlessly for you and your patients.


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