Rating the digital help: electronic medical records, software providers, and physicians

  • Richard J. Butler
  • William G. Johnson
Research Article


To separate the effects of physicians’ characteristics on the perceived productivity of EMRs from the effects of limitations on usability inherent in EMR design, a multivariate regression model is used to estimate the factors influencing physicians’ rankings of five attributes of their EMRs, namely; ease of use and reliability; the EMRs effect on physician and staff productivity and the EMRs performance vs. vendor’s promises. We divide the factors influencing the rankings into three groups: physician characteristics, EMR characteristics and practice characteristics (type of practice, size, and location). The data are from approximately 1800 practicing physicians in Arizona. Physician’s characteristics influence perceived ease of use and physicians’ productivity, but not staff productivity, reliability or vendors’ promised performance. Practice type and EMR characteristics affect perceived productivity, reliability and performance versus vendors’ promises. Vendor-specific effects are highly correlated across all five attributes and are always jointly significant. EMR characteristics are the most significant influence on physicians’ perceptions of the EMRs effect on their productivity and that of their staff. Physicians’ characteristics (particularly age) have a small but significant influence on perceived productivity.


EMR EHR Productivity Ease of use Physician perceptions 


Compliance with ethical standards

Author Contributors

RJB and WGJ contributed to the conception, design and drafting of this research. WGB supervised the acquisition of the data. RJB completed the data analysis. Both authors approved the final version of this paper.

Conflict of Interests



Data Support from the Center for Health Information Research at Arizona State University is greatly appreciated, as are programming help from Gevork Harootunian.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biomedical InformaticsArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  3. 3.Biomedical InformaticsArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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