EHR or Electronic health record is one of the best technology driven service for medical professionals but only if used properly. It is also not a small investment by any healthcare organization or a clinic that can be neglected. This and so many other reasons make it all the more important for the healthcare organizations to use it properly and get maximum benefit from it. In general, it has been observed that less than 50% of the EHR users improve their work flow by implementing EHR. Rest of the users either have the same kind of work flow or even worse than before implementation of EHR. This clearly indicates that even after its implementation, most of its users are unable to use it as efficiently as they should. Let’s discuss few ways to benefit better from the EHR software:
- Customize: An EHR is basically implemented to improve the workflow and make things systematic in the healthcare organization. But an EHR that is not in accordance with the work flow of the organization will negatively impact the productivity. This will make the staff spend too much time clicking here and there while forcing it to work the way practice is done. An answer to this is “customizable EHR”. EHR software can be customized according to the requirement and workflow of the healthcare organization. The templates and the reports that are generated in the EHR are customizable to make the most of the time and efforts of the staff. So any healthcare organization which is planning to implement or has implemented EHR should closely observe their workflow and get the EHR customized according to their needs. This will improve the office workflow by quickly moving patients through the office.
- Train, train and train: After implementation of any new technology, it is very important to get hands on it by doing thorough training. All the staff members should be extensively trained on the software to ease their work habits. It’s a universal rule that any new implementation and its training process would improve the productivity of the organization within four to six weeks. But training alone isn’t enough. The staff members should also be encouraged to use the software as much as possible during and after the training period. It’s been rightly said that practice makes a man perfect and practice would also make the staff perfect in EHR.
- Connect with a portal: Connecting EHR with a patient portal will be very beneficial as it will automatically gather and share important information with patients. It will also satisfy the patient engagement requirements and can also cut down the time spent by physicians and staff in documenting patient information. E.g. lot of patient and physician time can be saved if a patient uploads all his reports on patient portal while waiting for his turn. As patient portal is connected to EHR all the reports will automatically move to EHR and physician can see it.
- Stay updated: Although every EHR vendor automatically make updates to the software while causing very little impact on the organizational workflow, but it is important for the user too to keep up with the product updates. Any notification or an email about product updates should not be missed to avoid missing out on new functionality that may make the workflow better.
- Consider add-ons: In addition to EHR portal, physicians can also use other add-on software to streamline EHR documentation. E.g. “smart” pens can be used to write text on a computer or tablet that can later be converted to text within the EHR. There are so many other types of software available that can reduce the work of a physician but improve the efficiency of the organization.
Deploying an electronic health records or EHR system in a healthcare organization will minimize time and efforts while maximizing the efficiency and productivity of the staff. But it is most important to implement it according to the organizational practice procedure.