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EHR Usability Outshines AI as Top Health IT Priority of Healthcare Execs

An MGMA poll found that improving EHR usability was the top health IT priority for healthcare leaders, followed by patient communications, revenue cycle management, and AI.  

Healthcare executives are thinking about more than AI, according to a recent Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) poll that found improving EHR usability is medical group leaders' top health IT priority.  

Of 424 applicable responses, 35 percent of medical group leaders reported EHR usability as their top health IT priority.

The second most common answer was patient communications and access (26 percent), followed by revenue cycle management (RCM) and billing systems (21 percent). AI ranked fourth, with 13 percent of respondents reporting the technology as their top health IT priority.

The remaining respondents (6 percent) respondents reported "other" initiatives as their top priorities, including cybersecurity projects. MGMA editors noted that the percentages do not add up to 100 due to rounding.

EHR Usability

The most common EHR usability goals mentioned by respondents for the next six to 12 months centered on improved interoperability. Projects included transitioning to a unified EHR and enhancing interoperability between locations. Other leaders emphasized goals to drive interoperability with insurance companies and improve quality reporting functionality.

Patient Communications and Access 

Increased patient communication post-COVID-19 and ongoing staffing shortages have led many medical group leaders to focus on streamlining administrative workflows, including phone calls, portal messages, and scheduling.

Practice leaders who responded to the poll reported that they are investing in new systems or seeking vendors to improve patient communications to boost the patient experience and, in turn, improve online reviews. Respondents also said they are hoping functionality for patients to self-schedule and quickly access waiting lists for last-minute cancellations will lead to fewer no-show appointments. 

RCM and Billing Systems 

Poll respondents reported the following goals for RCM and billing system upgrades in the next six to 12 months:

  • Improved workflows for more accurate and timely payments 
  • Eliminating A/R more than 120 days out 
  • Enhanced revenue cycle reporting, analytics, and benchmarking
  • Automated billing and processing 


The implementation of AI tools appears to be a longer-term effort for many medical groups, the MGMA report noted.

According to a March 2023 MGMA poll, only one in 10 medical groups use AI tools regularly, and a  September 2023 MGMA poll found that only about one in five medical groups had added or expanded the use of AI.

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