Like it or not, your electronic health records system defines the way your practice is run. It determines how informed the front office staff is, how long it takes a doctor to dictate a note, and whether a patient can access his or her records online.
An EHR that hampers productivity doesn’t reflect well on the practice. However, even if you’re stuck using an EHR that seems like it was designed to slow you down for the sake of proper documentation, there are several things doctors can do to improve their EHR’s efficiency.
Train the entire staff. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by how often practices skip this step. If you want to get any type of productivity from your EHR, you must first make sure everyone knows how to use it. Most practices assign a power user to help train staff on the more complex uses of the software; take advantage of them. Your vendor is also an invaluable resource.
Use the EHR, not paper. It’s tempting to record your notes on paper rather than in the EHR because “paper just makes more sense,” but this is only creating more work for you and more confusion for the office. Use the EHR, not some paper workaround. It may be difficult at first, but stick to the EHR anyway. Use dictation, if possible. ChartLogic EMR allows you to dictate your notes without requiring someone to transcribe them later, and it automatically separates the data into discrete fields.
Don’t accept inefficiency as the new norm. EHRs have gotten a bit of a bad rap because some EHRs actually take up more time than paper. Don’t let that stop you from making the most of your EHR. Become familiar with all the content and features the EHR provides and make sure you use them.
Following these simple steps probably won’t turn your EHR into your dream EHR, but they will make your practice run more smoothly.