Barbara Balik Discusses Eliminating the Negatives of EHRs

Barbara Balik, EdD, MS, RN, co-founder of Aefina Partners and senior faculty at the Institute of Healthcare Improvement, recognizes the positives and negatives of electronic health records.

Greater use of EHRs has increased burnout, but they aren’t going away—how can technology be used to reduce clinician burnout?
First, I think we have to identify that EHRs weren’t really developed with the user in mind. There’s a lot of other good intended outcomes: the use of access to information, billing and coding. All of those kinds of things. But what exactly that might mean for that interaction between patient and clinician? I don’t think we fully anticipated and we kinda glossed over them in the early implementation. The issues that are absolutely essential right now is how do we remove the technological barriers between the relationships that patients and clinicians and other caregivers value. That’s at the heart of what we need to focus on. The commitment needs to be of removing those barriers and the demands on individuals through use of technology.

We are the only industry I know of that adds technology and then has to add people to deal with that technology. So the whole growth of scribes is just a work around because of the demands of technology. That’s insane in most other industries. So I think we can’t and don’t want to eliminate the good parts about electronic health record. We must eliminate the bad parts and start chipping away at those. I know some organizations have made great progress so there’s hope.
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