Healthcare IT is such a foreign language to people who don’t think about the intersection of health and technology every day. Before I entered the field, similar to other healthcare newcomers, I thought nothing of the nurses’ or doctors’ notes, aside from whether the blood pressure number they told me was normal. We are not too far removed from the days of paper everything, but I now find it interesting to see the magic behind the technology curtain.
Recently, I spoke to a doctor in a casual setting and when he learned I worked at a healthcare IT services and consulting firm that focused on EHR and ERP systems, he said, while he didn’t know anything about the ERP system in his hospital, he had a few ideas on what they could fix with the EHR.
The main point that stuck with me was that each time the physician added notes to a patient’s record, instead of replacing the current notes, it built on top of the previous entry. Even if he or she thought of a modification later, any note entered previously was permanent. Outdated information through the EHR may raise quality of care concerns or create potential for medical liability issues.
This is obviously not an isolated annoyance. Avaap’s Craig Joseph, MD has shared his thoughts on the topic once or twice. Doctors are busy each day completing paperwork or doing data entry, jumping through hoops to enter accurate, static information on first try, then feeling the heat when one wrong button is pushed or selection made. It just doesn’t equal efficiency or happy physicians.
Today I had a doctor’s appointment. I followed the common procedure of arriving 10-15 minutes early to fill out my information, updated my insurance information, and took a seat in the waiting room. I didn’t get called in until about 15 minutes after my scheduled time. Then, I waited a while longer in the exam room for the doctor. When the time came for the doctor to prescribe and send a prescription to my pharmacy, she began clicking away on her laptop, until she realized she was trying to send something to the pharmacy without actually prescribing the medication in the system.
While I didn’t question the doctor about it at the time, I couldn’t stop thinking about how she got to a screen that was allowing her to attempt to send a non-existent prescription. With doctors making more than 4,000 clicks during a single shift, how many small annoyances like that end up prolonging appointments and pushing back others? The minutes add up, giving a clear picture to why physician burnout is so high.
Physician EHR personalization increases usability, ensures physicians are using the EHR to its fullest potential and improves user satisfaction. One of our California-based community hospital accounts has seen a 25% decrease in average time spent documenting in the EHR for inpatient physicians, with twice as many respondents saying they now considered themselves advanced users of the system. Making the biggest difference? Doctors working one-on-one with your physicians to observe your clinicians’ EHR workflow and help them personalize their experience to help them be more efficient.
At the end of the day, hospitals are businesses, and businesses need to run as efficient as possible. When the EHR isn’t personalized, everyone feels the pain. Optimizing the physician’s EHR experience brings focus and time back to patient care, where everyone would like it to be.