KLAS report: Physician satisfaction with EHRs varies according to specialty

Arch Collaborative’s new report on EHR satisfaction by specialty explains the gaps and provides insights from doctors at highly satisfied specialties.

KLAS researchers found that doctors with high EHR satisfaction are almost five times more likely than others to say they will stay at their company. Hospital medicine is the group with the highest EHR satisfaction score. Also, it’s important to note that anesthesiology has lost their enthusiasm.


KLAS Arch Collaborative’s Exploring EHR Satisfaction By Provider Specialty report reveals that hospital medicine is the most satisfied with their EHR experience scores compared to other physicians. Orthopedics and cardiology were among the least satisfied.

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EHR functionality, the ability to provide quality care, and vendor delivery of that quality are all common frustrations.

The Arch Collaborative EHR Experience Survey examined core EHR satisfaction factors, including system efficiency, functionality, and impact on care. Results were then compiled into an overall net EHR experience score. According to the report, KLAS used Epic and Cerner EHR data as they provide sufficient specialty data for such an analysis.

The specialty with the highest EHR satisfaction (relative to the average vendor) is Cerner and Epic. Hospital medicine providers scored more than 10 points higher than their respective EHRs.

Providers are happy with the workflow training, EHR functionality, and ease of learning the system. 70% of physicians in cardiology agreed that their EHR was functional. Only 49% and 47% of orthopedics doctors felt the same.

These groups agreed on the same findings regarding EHR efficiency and patient care.

It was also discovered that EHR satisfaction surveys conducted by some organizations found unusually high scores for anesthesiology (cardiology), gynecology, and obstetrics.

Anesthesiologists have an average EHR satisfaction of middle to high, but this specialty showed the greatest decrease in satisfaction over the course of this research.

KLAS conducted interviews with anesthesiologists that reported unusually high satisfaction in order to gain insights into their motivations. These are the best practices that were uncovered from the analysis:

  • To better understand EHR changes, and the reasons behind them, involve individuals in EHR governance
  • Providers can ask their IT department, EHR analysts, or peers for quick fixes and suggestions to improve the EHR’s efficiency.
  • To improve EHR use and facilitate documentation, make significant use of EHR personalization tool.
  • To increase EHR knowledge, and understanding, implement EHR education. This includes required trainings for organizations and self-learning opportunities.

“I am actively involved in the process of change. I’ve seen many of my suggestions implemented in Epic. One anesthesiologist, who was part of the deeper analysis, said that she feels more in control of her work when she can have an impact on her daily workflow.


Researchers have been able to establish that EHR useability and clinician burnout are linked over many years. EHR satisfaction has been a major factor in doctors’ decision-making about quitting the profession.

One Virginia organization managed to overcome these challenges by providing physician support and implementing a scalable, repeatable EHR satisfaction solution.

OrthoVirginia improved provider satisfaction by offering more documentation options and one specialist in physician support for each 40 providers. They provided short-term support for individuals and then moved on to teaching.

“We realized that we did not have enough active engagements with our physicians. “We knew that we needed to find a way to engage with our physicians more than just once a month on a telephone call,” Terri Ripley (OrthoVirginai’s CIO) said during a HIMSS20 presentation.


Researchers found that providers who agree with the specialty-specific training they received are nearly 25 times more likely than those who did not agree to have the EHR provide the functionality they require. EHR vendors and organizations can both help providers succeed with the EHR. This is done by making sure that the initial and ongoing education are customized to meet the needs of each specialty.

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