An EHR Twitter Roundup

If you want to know how doctors feel about their EHR software, all you have to do is look at Twitter. There are doctors complaining all of the time about their EHR and the impact it’s having on their lives. I’m careful to not take their complaints too far. If Twitter was around 15 years ago, I’m 100% sure we’d have seen just as many doctors complaining about paper charts as we do about EHR software.

That said, it’s important to acknowledge the impact that EHR software and the policies and regulations it reflects has on doctors. Let me highlight some tweets that illustrate what I mean and add a little commentary and perspective.

The concept of cognitive bandwidth is an important one. We’ve all felt that burnt out feeling where some part of your job leaves you so burnt out that you can’t spend time on something else. I do find it interesting that this same doctor has still been able to tweet 6,660 times despite the cognitive burnout that Epic has offered him. Granted, tweeting doesn’t require the same cognitive load as other professional development tasks he could do. Twitter is much more bite-sized which makes us think that it doesn’t suck the life out of us as well. Maybe there’s a lesson here for us on how to better educate people. Regardless, I know this doctor is not alone in his feelings of an EHR making other things more difficult to accomplish.

Many replies to the tweet suggested that it would get better over time, but there was plenty of commiseration as well. There was also this reply:

To be honest, I hate this example. It usually leads to people saying that Apple could build a much better EHR than those out there today. Every day I’m more convinced that’s just not the case. Ok, maybe Apple’s EHR would be nominally better than what’s out there, but I’m quite confident that doctors would still hate it.

Here’s the problem. If your niece had to document 100 data points in an app with 10,000 possible variations, she’d hate it too. One day doctors will be able to walk into an exam room and microphones and video cameras will capture everything that happens with a patient, NLP will identify the various clinical elements, AI will know what it all means, and the visit will be documented automatically. Until that happens, many EHRs can improve what they’re doing, but it will all still feel “non-intuitive” compared to a simple app that your niece uses.

And EMR software wasn’t designed to improve care.

If you read through the full thread, you get more details about what’s really happening. Many of the complaints like this one are around poor configuration and implementation. There’s no doubt that every EMR can do what she’s asking. Someone in a reply acknowledges that they can do it. However, that doesn’t help the doctor when they’re frustrated in that moment. It’s amazing the impact poor configuration and implementation can have on morale.

A hopeful view, but a challenging one when you stack it up against even just the simple complaints above.

The reality is that EHRs aren’t going anywhere. So, Dr. Levi is right. Providers can’t be enslaved by the EHR. Easier blogged than done.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.