EHR and Health IT Consulting
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EHR and Health IT Consulting
Technical Doctor's insights and information collated from various sources on EHR selection, EHR implementation, EMR relevance for providers and decision makers
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Pro-Active EHR Optimization is a Necessity

Pro-Active EHR Optimization is a Necessity | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Everyone knows that routine maintenance is required to keep a home, car, or even a person in good shape and performing well.  The same is true in regards to our electronic health records (EHR).  To meet the requirements and capitalize on the benefits of meaningful use, the US market has seen an unprecedented amount of EHR implementations. However, many organizations aren’t seeing the expected benefits.

 

Factors such as rushed, system-focused implementations, lack of standardization or focus on workflows, end-user and physician dissatisfaction, high ticket, and request volumes, and/or sub-optimal training are major drivers for optimization needs. Routine maintenance and pro-active EHR optimization are a constant and ongoing necessity and should be treated that way from a planning, budgeting and prioritization perspective. Here are some key areas to consider in a post-EHR go live world.

 

Thorough Assessment, Prioritization, and Management of Current Issues and Complaints

 

Most organizations use a ticketing system to log EHR issues. Following an EHR activation, ticket volumes often increase to the point where an organization cannot manage the volume and cannot differentiate priority issues from common, organizational issues. This is exacerbated by the constant “pull” of resources that are now needed for other organizational objectives and projects.

 

The truth is, your EHR “project” doesn’t go away when the system goes live. Rather, a program management organization, complete with an integrated Governance structure, must remain to manage upgrades, maintenance, and optimization. A great first step is understanding issues and prioritizing ongoing efforts for your teams and your organization

 

A thorough review, cleanup, validation, and categorization of all issues should be conducted. This requires the establishment and ongoing execution of a ticket intake and review process that identifies the priority and necessity, understands the source of the problem (e.g., user proficiency, workflow inefficiency, build defects) and reconciles that against the objectives of the organization. It is critical to include operational and clinical leaders in this process and often requires time for interviewing and even shadowing clinical and operational users to fully understand and accurately document issues.

 

Categorizing, Prioritizing, Integrating and Approving Effort

 

Most issues can be categorized into four areas:

  1. Break/Fix
    • Break/fix are issues with the software functionality that need to be fixed by either the IT analysts or vendor.
  2. System Enhancement
    • Enhancement issues pertain to desired functionality that is either not yet developed by the vendor or not yet implemented by the IT department.
  3. Workflow
    • Workflow issues arise when a process or procedure is inefficient.
  4. Training
    • Training issues occur when the system is functioning as designed but the end user is unaware of how to use it properly. Training may also be needed to teach advanced functionality.

 

After categorization, issues should be prioritized. The prioritization process should be carried out through the Program Management and Governance structure and is typically not simply an “IT” process.  Understanding the issues and requests, prioritizing them against the organizational objectives and then including them in the ongoing capital and operating plans allows adequate focus, funding, and validation for the work.

 

This may be simple and quick – break/fix items, refresher training, etc. However, the focus may be more complex and cross multiple areas of the organization – new system functionality, upgrades, workflow redesign, etc.  The latter often requires the organization to move back into “project mode” with a detailed timeline, project plan and in some cases, capital funding.

 

Optimization Implementation and Ongoing Maintenance

 

Now that a structure is in place, resources are adequately funded and work is prioritized, the organization can move forward knowing that the EHR can be properly maintained, but also leveraged for its true functionality. There will be many moving parts that may involve system configuration, system upgrades, workflow redesign, and end user training.

 

Having a dedicated optimization team and project manager that interacts and coordinates with the key operational and clinical leaders is key to ensuring success, but also aides in optimizing an EHR solution that supports the organization’s objectives as well as the patient experience.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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3 EHR Optimization Benchmarks Your Practice Should Be Using

3 EHR Optimization Benchmarks Your Practice Should Be Using | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Following the implementation of an electronic health records (EHR) system, optimization should be the next critical objective for a medical practice. One way to plan a road-map for optimization is to generate benchmarks.

Below are three important benchmarks to help your practice determine if you’re getting the most out of your EHR system.

  1. Computerized Physician Order Entry Indicators

Some of the most important benchmarks in EHR optimization center around computerized physician order entry (CPOE) indicators. These indicators are critical for identifying the efficiency of an EHR, and complying with Meaningful Userequirements. Fortunately, these are often easy to benchmark. For instance, one indicator for a practice with a high volume of electronic prescribing is the number of pharmacist calls regarding contraindicating medications. This indicator is simple to follow, and can inform a practice whether or not an EHR system’s Clinical Decision Support (CDS) alerts or notifications are effective.

Other CPOE indicators that are simple to follow include anything from provider and staff logins to printer use and more. Bottlenecks in data entry can also indicate issues with in-house adoption and areas that could benefit from optimization.

Setting benchmarks for these indicators are an important way to track post-implementation optimization for an EHR system.

  1. Alignment and Standardization of Use

One very common area in need of optimization post-EHR implementation is standardization of workflows. Technicians, nurses, medical assistants, providers, and staff may all do the same task differently. While there will always be slight variation in workflows between team members, major differences (i.e. printing and scanning a document rather than importing data electronically) can lead to large gaps in optimization further down the road. Fortunately, this is measurable, and can be an important indicator to monitor as you optimize your EHR system. Striving for benchmarks within certain tasks and workflows, such as importing medical histories or documenting in-office medications, can help to clarify standardization (or the need for standardization) within a medical practice.

  1. Revenue Cycle Management Indicators

Successful implementation of an electronic records system should reflect financial benefits as well as positive workflow and improved patient indicators. Therefore, important benchmarks in EHR optimization include Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) indicators. Leveraging costs per provider vs. clinic volume before and after implementation (taking into consideration training and adoption periods) can help clarify areas that need further optimization. This may involve taking a closer look at EHR pricing models and what the practice’s needs are heading into the future, along with considerations such as personnel volume, clinic growth, federal reimbursements, and more.

Making Benchmarking Actionable

Benchmarking may begin as a method of determining the efficiency of an EHR system, but it doesn’t stop there. Monitoring indicators and determining strategies to achieve those goals also aligns a practice with the many objectives of electronic health records in the first place: improved patient safety, thorough documentation, and more efficient workflows, to name a few. Therefore, making benchmarking actionable is critical for the health of the entire practice and its patients. Creating teams to address issues with optimization and working through kinks in workflows after benchmarking and monitoring is the next step to operating a truly successful EHR system.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:

Contact Details :
inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com/tdr

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3 Key Areas to Address During EHR Optimization

3 Key Areas to Address During EHR Optimization | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

If you have ever purchased a new home, you are rarely 100% satisfied when you move in. You may want to add some new furniture, paint a few walls, update the flooring or even do a complete remodel. When implementing a new Electronic Health Record (EHR), many times the need to “get the system live” as soon as possible, results in a rushed implementation of basic functionality and “out of the box” workflows.

 

There is not always time to look at current issues and identify ways to improve processes. Many times the current problems are merely transferred into the new system. Even if you love everything about your new EHR, Optimization of the system will always be necessary due to factors such as advances in medical treatment, compliance & regulatory changes, adding of new specialties and more.

 

Whether it is your existing EHR or a new system, for optimization to be effective, experts with clinical, operational and technical experience will need to look at how the system is working. You may have such experts employed, or you may need to bring in consultants. Either way, these experts will assess how users are interacting with the EHR and if they are having functionality and/or workflow issues. Sometimes, problems can be addressed by merely providing additional training, especially if new features and functionality have been deployed.

 

By taking a thorough look at the system and its users, experts can determine what improvements need to be made.

Below are three areas to take into consideration: 

  1. Governance: A strong governance structure is critical to having a successful optimization plan. Requests for changes to the EHR must be prioritized and evaluated.  An agile governance group made up of the right members, should meet monthly to review all requests and prioritize according to the overall needs of the organization.
  2. Training:  A comprehensive training program is a critical factor that impacts the usability of the EHR. Many times organizations provide new employee training but do not offer any “ongoing” or “refresher” training. Supplemental training can increase basic and advanced knowledge of the system and improve efficiency. As system upgrades and new functionality are implemented, users should have an option to attend classroom training. eLearning can be helpful, but there is no substitute for hands-on classroom training where the user can ask questions and get answers.
  3. Communication: Organizations should have effective and comprehensive communications regarding training, new functionality, and any other changes to the EHR. The creation of a formal enterprise-wide communication plan using a variety of forums and a broad spectrum of communications resources is essential. Being proactive versus reactive such as having the EHR topic as a standing agenda item at a section and other scheduled MD meetings can be very useful.
Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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