Professional News
 DOI: 10.1176/appi.pn.2013.12b18
APA to Survey Members About EHR Use
Psychiatric News
Volume 48 Number 1 page 16-16


The survey should help inform the design of future electronic health record (EHR) systems for psychiatrists and minimize or avoid pitfalls associated with EHRs.

Abstract Teaser

Are you using an electronic health record (EHR), and if so what kind? APA wants to know and will be surveying its members early this year to find out.

In conjunction with AmericanEHR Partners and the American College of Physicians (ACP), APA is participating in a nationwide survey of physicians from every major specialty group. The survey, which is being e-mailed to members this month, is designed to ascertain the extent to which physicians are using electronic health records, the kinds of products they use, and their opinions about them.

Members who complete the survey will be entered into a drawing for a new Apple mini-tablet computer.

Robert Plovnick, M.D., M.S., director of APA’s Office of Quality Improvement and Psychiatric Services, said the survey will take approximately 50 minutes to complete. It consists of a set of questions that every physician, regardless of specialty, will be asked; a second set of questions targeting those who are currently using some kind of EHR product; and a third set of questions specifically for psychiatrists.

Responses to the survey will be confidential, and physician identities will not be used in reporting survey results.

“The goal is to get a sense of EHR usage and collect detailed information on the products currently used by psychiatrists,” Plovnick told Psychiatric News. “This is directly responsive to requests we have received from all areas of the organization. Everyone wants to know which EHRs psychiatrists are using and what they think of them, so we can have a sense of the state of the EHR market and help our members make their own purchasing decisions.

“So far we have had to rely on anecdotal evidence, so the survey is an opportunity to provide more-robust information about available EHR products to our members,” he said. “The more feedback we get, the more useful it will be to the field.”

(According to its Web site, AmericanEHR Partners has been developed by Cientis Technologies and ACP; it provides physicians, state and federal agencies, vendors, and funding organizations with tools to identify, implement, and effectively use electronic health records and other health care technologies.)

The psychiatry-specific questions gauge clinician satisfaction with the ability of an EHR to use DSM diagnoses and coding; ability to create or customize templates for psychiatry specific documentation; ability to manage separate psychotherapy notes; ability to create and share records with members of a treatment team, including other physicians, psychologists, and social workers; and ability to record substance use, among other issues.

Psychiatrist Daniel Balog, M.D., a member of APA’s Committee on Electronic Health Records, said psychiatrist participation in the survey can also help influence the design of EHR products in the future.

“The majority of current EHR systems were designed with a predominance of medical input, so APA’s involvement in this clinical survey provides member psychiatrists a platform to share their EHR experiences,” Balog told Psychiatric News. “The survey includes specialty questions designed by the APA EHR Committee to target information relevant to member psychiatrists who are shopping for EHR systems or who are in a position to influence purchasing decisions made by larger organizations.” ■

More information about EHRs is posted on the APA Web site at http://www.psychiatry.org/ehr. Information about American EHR Partners, including information about EHR products derived from responses from physicians who have completed the survey, is posted at http://www.americanehr.com.

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