Lack of EHR Usability Impacting Clinical Efficiency? EHR Optimization is the Answer!

Feeling frustrated by the amount of time your staff is spending on EHR software? Well, you are not alone!

  • Almost 40% of primary care physicians believe there are more challenges with EHRs than benefits.
  • 71% of physicians agree that EHRs contribute to physician burnout.
  • Nearly 72% of PCPs think that improving EHRs’ user interfaces could address EHR challenges.(Source)

The good news – EHR optimization can help address most of the problems related to shortfalls with EMR usability, drop in physician productivity, and clinical inefficiency.

What is EHR Optimization?

It is the process of enhancing the operations of an already installed EHR or EMR system to improve clinical productivity, reduce physician burnout, and enhance usability. Providers can optimize their EHR software as per their unique needs and specialties.

Why is EHR Optimization Important?

According to a report, at least 38% of healthcare CIOs are investing in EHR optimization. Look at this data to understand why hundreds of thousands of eye care practices turn to EHR optimization:

  • Improved operational efficiency post EHR optimization can help reduce cost by up to 10%.
  • Nearly 18% improvement in task completion time can help providers see an additional 3-4 patients per day, which means an increase in the bottom line.
  • A 16% increase in timely finalization of notes means increased provider satisfaction and reduced physician burnout. (Source)

EHR Optimization Best Practices

Often, providers and medical staff feel that EHRs were dumped on them and they weren’t consulted or trained to leverage the new system. Many users also complain that EHR workflows don’t align with clinical workflows, resulting in provider burnout and reduced productivity.

So, when you launch the EHR optimization initiative, make sure to take and implement user feedback. The goal of the optimization exercise should be to personalize EHR workflows to the users’ requirements. For instance, an ophthalmologist caring for a patient with diabetes should be able to view the patient’s past glucose levels or clinical visits.

The following tips will help you take a strategic approach to EHR optimization:

  1. Assess the existing workflow: Map and compare the pre-implementation workflow with the post-implementation workflow.
  2. Take Users’ Feedback: Interact with users and take their feedback. Understand pain points and gaps in the new process. Identify areas where optimization is needed.
  3. Set EHR optimization Goals: Based on your interaction with users, note key points related to security, reliability, usability, training, and support.
  4. Share Goals with Stakeholders: Explain to providers and medical staff how redesigning EHR workflows will help increase efficiencies, improve care quality, enhance the patient experience, and eliminate the administrative burden on users.
  5. Involve Vendor in Project Planning: If your in-house IT team does not have the expertise to crack this project, consider hiring EHR optimization specialists. The cost of hiring a professional vendor to drive the optimization will be far less than a failed project’s price.
  6. Invest in Training: Initial and ongoing training is essential to achieving success. Newly hired users should spend ten or more hours training to understand key features and functionalities of the system, while on-going training should focus on engaging users and keeping them updated.
  7. Monitor, Assess, Report, Fix: This mantra will help make your EHR optimization project a success. This is because optimization might get complicated as your goals, staff, and requirements change. With this mantra at top of mind, EHR optimization will never slip through the cracks.

Conclusion

Merely implementing EHR software does not guarantee provider efficiency, or patient satisfaction, or a good ROI. Practices that fail to integrate and leverage EHR capabilities can find themselves trapped in post-implementation despair, paralyzed by dissatisfied users, and reduced clinical efficiency. Your EHR will deliver maximum value when it is leveraged to drive strategic decisions, improve care quality, and control costs. Let our EHR specialists conduct an onsite visit to review your clinical workflows and understand your specific requirements before suggesting the right EHR optimization strategy.

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