Even IT companies that are working with physicians like Fine and Young in developing EMRs acknowledge the reluctance of physicians to embrace it. Fine and Young both use Hello Health, a New York–based web-based patient management platform for medical records and messaging. According to Hello Health's Primary Care Physician Attitudes survey conducted this summer, 37% of physicians see EMRs as their number-one challenge—the same percentage that see practice financial issues as their foremost concern.
Fine says it was important to have extensive technical support with the Hello Health platform while starting up an EHR. "We have a patient portal and the training was for free," Fine says.
The Hello Health survey showed that, among physicians who said that practice financials were among their biggest challenges, 51% felt implementing an EHR would help their practices, especially in dealing with coding and documentation.
Coding may have been the last straw for Young as he switched to an EMR.
"I've got 25 years of experience in using paper charts," Young says. "What, we're talking about more than 25,000 codes for ICD-9 [diagnostic codes] and then a lot more for ICD-10? Already, practice work is time-consuming with paper. I'm looking for the promise of what's ahead."