Physicians hate their EHRs. Research shows there's no love lost between doctors and the technology. The love affair is over, if there ever was one.

According to a recent study, just 34 percent of physicians said they were "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with their EHR system in 2014, down from 62 percent in 2010. The research was conducted by AmericanEHR, an online resource for buying and using the technology, and the American Medical Association (AMA).

Diving a little deeper, the percentage of physicians unhappy with their system stood at 54 percent in 2014. If there were an election to determine whether to employ the use of EHRs, the majority would say no to this candidate.

Thus, the survey of 940 physicians pinpointed sources of EHR unease:

  • 72 percent said EHRs made it "difficult" or "very difficult" to decrease their workload
  • 54 percent complained about higher operating costs
  • 43 percent had not yet returned to their pre-EHR level of productivity

The survey also suggests EHR satisfaction improves with time, especially if physicians pick the right system. But picking the right system becomes the biggest problem of all.

That said, roughly 70 percent of physicians use only 10 EHR programs. And only two systems included satisfied clients: Practice Fusion and e-MDs Solutions. And eClinicalWorks posted a dissatisfaction rating of less than 50 percent.

According to Medscape, more than 50 percent of physicians who used EpicCare Ambulatory EMR, Cerner Millennium PowerChart/PowerWorks and Allscripts systems said they were dissatisfied. NextGen Ambulatory EHR did not fair well at all — the disgruntled docs topped 75 percent.

EHR satisfaction directly correlated to years with the system, the survey showed. Of physicians who had used their software for three years or less, only about 25 percent said they felt any degree of satisfaction. The percentage rose to 50 percent for doctors who used it more than five years.

"While EHR systems have the promise of improving patient care and practice efficiency, we are not yet seeing those effects," Shari Erickson, MPH, vice president of ACP's division of governmental affairs and medical practice, said in a statement. "We need to focus on figuring out how we can help physicians and practices to more effectively implement and use these systems."

The study showed that primary care physicians were more likely than specialists to report satisfaction with various aspects of the EHR system and to indicate a positive impact on practice.

"Perhaps we are getting over the curve in EHR adoption," Erickson said. "It may be that as we see more practices that have been using these systems longer, we will see satisfaction begin to rise."

AmericanEHR Partners is a free online resource designed to aid the medical community with the selection, implementation and effective use of health information technology and electronic health records. AmericanEHR Partners was founded by the American College of Physicians and Cientis Technologies and is supported by 18 medical societies and seven health IT organizations with a combined membership of more than 720,000 clinicians, representing more than 65 percent of physicians in the U.S. It does not endorse any electronic health record vendor.

The results were collected through surveys conducted by AmericanEHR Partners in conjunction with the AMA, American College of Physicians and American Academy of Family Physicians between May 30, 2014, and July 18, 2014. Each society was allowed to select the population of their members to receive the survey.