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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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5 Secret Ways for Physicians to Use Your EHR More Efficiently

5 Secret Ways for Physicians to Use Your EHR More Efficiently | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Implementing an Electronic Health Records system does not in and of itself guarantee a boost in productivity or revenue. However, it would be reasonable to assume that these will happen as a result of putting in the effort to learn how to best use an EHR. We would like to reveal 5 secret ways you can use an electronic health record system (EHR) to boost the output of your practice.

Secret Ways for Physicians to Use Your EHR More Efficiently

Use Medical Voice Assistant

If you are sick and tired of the effort required to complete the documentation aspect of your EHR, then it might be time to start using an intelligent medical-based voice assistant to do it for you. There are many AI-based medical dictation and clinical documentation software options out there that seamlessly integrate with and enable your voice commands to operate your electronic health record software. That said, talkEHR is the only electronic health record software available on the market that comes with an interactive voice assistant named Alison. This next generation technology empowers you to naturally interact with your EHR. You can use voice commands to enable features instantly, and it can also type for you.

 

Shortcuts Save Time

Just like you would save your favorite websites on a browser like IE or Chrome, we recommend that you think through the most useful features of your electronic health records software and then assign them shortcut keys so you can reach them with a single click. Generally speaking, there are a variety of other customization and shortcut options available with regard to setting up your dashboard or tabs as well. Investing the time upfront to customize such elements will ultimately save you time in the long run, thereby making it more manageable to run your practice.

 

Consider Useful Add-ons

Contact your EHR vendor to find out which add-ons are available. For instance, “Smart Pen” is an input device add-on that you use like an ordinary pen to put data into your EHR. These kinds of add-ons will improve the workflow of your practice and are worth your time and investment.

 

Explore your EHR

Electronic health record software is a complex system that is equipped with a range of features that you may or may not be aware of. Many features are built to reduce the hassle of practice management, but as is usually the case with new tools, you need to first know about them before you can explore them. So, we would suggest you fully explore your EHR and make note of the best ones available. You can also schedule a technical meeting with your vendor’s support team to fully understand the capacity of your electronic health record software.

 

Stay Updated

EHR suppliers frequently update the advanced features and bug fixes. We suggest that you ensure your practice is fully aware of this fact and stays updated with all the ongoing improvements that vendor makes to the system. This way, you can utilize your electronic health record software in the best possible way. Using your EHR more efficiently will save time so your practice can see and treat more patients, thereby increasing revenue. And don’t forget, if you have suggestions for your vendor, don’t hesitate to offer them feedback so they can improve their system to meet your expectations and needs.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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Physician viewpoint on How to remove 'stupid stuff' from EHRs 

Physician viewpoint on How to remove 'stupid stuff' from EHRs  | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

It's time to cut unnecessary work from the EHR, according to a perspective in The New England Journal of Medicine by Melinda Ashton, MD, a physician with Hawaii Pacific Health in Honolulu.

 

In the article, Dr. Ashton describes a program she and her colleagues launched in October 2017, called "Getting Rid of Stupid Stuff." In an effort to engage clinicians and reduce burnout, the program team asked all employees at the healthcare network to review their daily documentation practices and nominate aspects of the EHR they thought were "poorly designed, unnecessary or just plain stupid."

 

Along with fielding nominations from physicians and nurses, the team also conducted its own review of documentation practices, and removed 10 of the 12 most frequently ignored alerts the EHR pushed to physicians. The team also removed order sets that had not been used recently.

 

Dr. Ashton acknowledged the specific changes likely aren't relevant for other hospitals, but she advocated for the shift in mentality the "Getting Rid of Stupid Stuff" program initiated. "It appears that there is stupid stuff all around us, and although many of the nominations we receive aren't for big changes, the small wins that come from acknowledging and improving our daily work do matter," she wrote.

 

Here are four of the categories Dr. Ashton and her colleagues deleted from the EHR as part of the program:

 

1. One nurse who worked with adolescent patients asked to remove a physical assessment row labeled "cord," meant to reflect care of the umbilical cord remnant in newborns. The row, which was supposed to be suppressed for those older than 30 days of age, had still been present for other ages.

 

2. A nurse who cared for newborns said she had to click three times whenever she changed a diaper, as a result of EHR documentation for incontinence requiring the clinician to indicate whether the patient is incontinent of urine, stool or both. The team created a single-click option for children in diapers.

 

3. Multiple nurses highlighted the frequency of "head-to-toe" nursing assessments, which they are expected to complete upon assuming care of each patient. However, in some units, the EHR prompted nurses to document several of these assessments during a 12-hour shift.

 

"We sought to identify standards in the literature and found that some of our practices were in keeping with those standards," Dr. Ashton wrote. "In other units, we reduced the frequency of required evaluation and documentation."

 

4. An emergency medicine physician questioned why the EHR prompts employees to print an after-visit summary before scanning it back into the system. He hadn't noticed the patient was expected to sign the summary, which was stored in the record.

 

"His question led us to query other health systems and our legal team about the value of the signature, and we were able to remove this requirement," Dr. Ashton wrote. "The physician was delighted that he had been able to influence a practice that he believed was a waste of support-staff time."

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Here we go again ... EHR Reset, Refuel, Optimize

Here we go again ... EHR Reset, Refuel, Optimize | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

At some point, we all thought the Electronic Health Record (EHR) implementation lifecycle would stabilize and transition into the ever elusive “maintenance mode”. Costs would go down, patient quality and care would improve, physicians would be more efficient and effective in the care of their patients, physicians would actually “like” the system, and the world would go back to normal. Right? Well, that is partially right. And now it would seem that it’s time for an EHR reset.

 

The introduction of the integrated EHR did accomplish many of these goals. We can quote statistics of a positive move towards gaining all of these benefits. However, we can also bring to light many frustrations with physicians, clinical teams, operations teams and even patients.

 

Pro-Active EHR Optimization is a Necessity
Why is this? For one, we forgot that the expectations, the functionality, and the potential are always moving farther to the right. These expectations are supported by advancing capabilities within EHRs but are also driven by the need for data science capabilities that provide innovative, real-time solutions to deliver patient care when, where and how it is needed.

 

Vendor sponsored EHR capabilities advance on a regular basis by introducing new functionality and capabilities, by expanding their capabilities for integration, analytics, and other critical functions and by offering alternative solutions to support the changing needs of the market (e.g., Community based solutions, organization acquisitions and organic growth, lower cost solutions with rapid implementation timelines, etc.)


The healthcare market is ever changing as is the expectations of those who work in the healthcare field. Introducing an integrated EHR is the first taste that required healthcare providers and operators to open their minds about “how it could be”. Now that we have asked them to think this way, the door is open. EHR vendor capabilities and their integration with other third-party systems that support integration, analytics and even data science are now the “norm” to operate in a more global healthcare market. Users of these systems are now asking, “what if the system could do this?”


Organizations of all types and sizes are reevaluating the current structure and use of their Electronic Health Record (EHR) and deciding to not just optimize, but also completely re-implement the system. With an eye towards market growth, transformation and innovation, healthcare leaders are initiating a major program effort to re-implement their EHR focusing on leading-practice standardization, leveraged capabilities, cost-efficient support structure, decision-focused analytics and most importantly, the patient experience.

 

There are many reasons healthcare organizations are considering a complete reimplementation of their current system.

 

Function-specific EHR implementation where multiple activities may still be supported by many, disparate and/or non-integrated systems


Rapid installation timeline with minimal use of the potential system capabilities


Continuation of technology “isolation” where decisions are not driven by clinical and operational stakeholders and technology teams are still focused on the singular activities of taking care of their world


An installation that is on an outdated version with a highly customized build and non-standardized workflow components
Need for a foundation to support an organization’s market expansion through acquisitions, connect alternatives or other market growth


Whatever the reason, organizations and their leaders now understand that the initial implementation was not the end. Rather, it was only the first step in creating a technological foundation that supports the organization’s vision and strategy for continued excellence in care, growth, innovation, and viability in the market.

 

The encouraging side to all of this is:

 

You have already gone through an implementation so completing an “EHR reset” requires a similar structure, effort, and rigor, and
You get a “do-over”, or said differently, an EHR reset provides a new chance to transform your organization and establish a foundation for moving forward in the organization’s vision and strategy.
If your organization is considering an EHR reset, Optimum’s team of experts can help. Optimum Healthcare IT has a dedicated Advisory Services solution line that brings years of healthcare clinical, operational, and IT knowledge.

 

Our team brings years of healthcare clinical, operational, and IT knowledge. Using our experience and expertise, we design project plans that turn your goals from vision to reality. Working with your staff, we refine the approach, the methodology, and define the resources needed to execute on time and on budget. We work with you to make sure you are leveraging your technology to increase the safety and quality of care you provide to your patients throughout the continuum of care.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:

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inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004

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How EHR is different from EMR?

How EHR is different from EMR? | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

EHR and EMR have been in our vocabulary for nearly 20 years. Since the 1990’s, clinical environments have increasingly relied on technology to function and improve patient care. Today, our methods are becoming incredibly sophisticated, particularly following the application of Stage 3 of Meaningful Use in 2016. Because of this, it’s important to take a look at a commonly misunderstood distinction: EHR (electronic health records) and EMR (electronic medical records).

 

The Basics of EHR vs EMR

Back in 1995, one could arguably use EHR or EMR interchangeably. This is because electronic medical records systems were just that: an electronic version of the medical chart. But as the years have gone by, our technological functionality became more robust, stretching far beyond the exam room or even the clinical setting. In fact, it’s very common now for the patient to have access to their own records, physician communication, and more all from within their home.

It is for this reason that the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has made a detailed study on EHR vs EMR.

 

How Records Systems Affect Different Parties

One way to better understand records systems in healthcare is to consider how those systems affect different parties. Let’s take a look at EHR vs EMR systems in terms of three different major parties in healthcare.

 

Patients  Improving patient outcomes is one of the largest and most important objectives of healthcare records systems. Patients rarely cross paths with EMRs. However, they are affected by them through follow-up exams, regular checkups, and other indicators over time. EHR systems, on the other hand, enable the patient to view their health reports, contact their healthcare providers, view referrals, pay their bills, and much more.

 

Providers  For providers, records systems not only help to improve patient care through improved data accuracy and alerts such as medication contradictions, but they also help to close gaps in communication and improve clinical workflow efficiency. This is true for both EHRs and EMRs, but the advantage an EHR has over an EMR for physicians is its ability to communicate information beyond the practice to patients, specialists, hospitals, and more. EHRs “move with the patient,” as explained by the ONC, as opposed to staying solely inside the walls of one practice.

 

Vendors  While vendors are responsible for providing a health records system, requirements for those systems can change over time, especially for certified EHR technology. EMRs are no longer sufficient to support a medical practice and its patients. Instead, EHR systems enable vendors to offer comprehensive, customizable services to medical practices that include everything from billing, to charting, to scheduling, and more, all while staying abreast of federal requirements like HIPAA and Meaningful Use regulations.

 

In the end, EHR systems are a direct reflection of how far technological advancements have taken the industry of records systems in healthcare. What once was simply an electronic version of a chart has become a real-time reflection of a patient and their health. This makes an EHR more powerful to the benefit of all parties involved, but in particular, to the patient.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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How to Choose the Right EHR Vendor for your Practice

How to Choose the Right EHR Vendor for your Practice | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Electronic Health Records (EHR) Software has gained considerable attention from practices worldwide due to its innumerable advantages. EHR’s are built to provide an organized, accurate, and cost-effective documentation process. Using one saves time and reduces paper work drastically, thereby enhancing productivity. But, finding the EHR system that best suits your practice and also installing it correctly are two major challenges that you are likely to face before reaping the real benefits of an EHR. So, before you go further with your EHR planning, let’s first have a look at some important pointers to keep in mind while looking for the best EHR vendor.

 

There are so many EHR vendors waiting for a chance to gain your business. They all offer attractive service packages and discounts to make their product seem the most attractive. But, they can’t all be the best in actuality, so it’s important that you consider some critical questions. These questions will equip you with sufficient information about the vendor and will help you make an informed decision. Below are the primary items we’d recommend you think through before going forward:

Tips for Choosing the Right EHR Vendors for your Practice

  • Compatibility and Reliability

If you are used to evaluating vendors on a regular basis, then you would be aware of the requisites of the vendor selection process. But for those not accustomed to this, the first step is to determine that the EHR system in question is compatible with your company’s infrastructure. For that, a trusted and reliable vendor should be chosen who has a solid history, including an impeccable service record. Customer reviews say a lot about a product or a service and are worth looking into.

  • Meaningful Use (MU) Criteria

There are certain criteria that’ll help you shortlist a vendor. The EHR incentive program has set the meaningful use criteria specifically for the EHR systems, so look to this as a priority. It is a common feature found in EHR systems, but the latest one is the MU3 category.  We would recommend that you make sure your new one has this.

  • Aligned Core Values

You want an EHR system made specifically for the management of healthcare-related information and organized for proper documentation. But, it should also align with the needs and values of your practice (a.k.a. customization options). The vendor should be willing to design a unique service package that suits your core operations, too.

  • Impressive User Experience

Although this is not the number one priority list, it’s still important to keep in mind when picking the right EHR system. A system with a confusing workflow that isn’t intuitive won’t work. Ignoring this would be a mistake. Make sure you and some team members of your practice try it first to confirm whether it’s the right fit from a usability perspective.

 

These are some of the key characteristics to think through. Before stepping into the market, do some homework and shortlist all the potential EHR vendors that seem to carry potential. Then, conduct some research on each one of them to narrow down your list. These steps will save you time while guaranteeing, to a great extent, the trustworthiness of your vendor and effectiveness of your decision.

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

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

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Workflow Analysis, Ease of Use & Best Practices

Workflow Analysis, Ease of Use & Best Practices | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

As a healthcare organization, innovation and change can be a challenge. And while many changes are forced, either by government mandate, financial incentive, or patient care necessity, each organization must make a series of decisions that will dictate their technological, financial and cultural future. Though the EHR journey, from selection and implementation to maintenance and upgrades, is not easy. It is necessary. In this series, we reached out to Terri Couts, VP of Epic Application Programs at Guthrie Clinic, for her thoughts on the end-to-end EHR journey.

 

Workflow Analysis, Ease of Use & Best Practices
A major part of any EHR installation is workflow analysis. Every organization practices, functions, and cares for patients a little differently largely due to training, culture, and patient demographics that they serve. Knowing all of this, there is still an unrealistic expectation that healthcare technology is plug-and-play. Being trapped in this misconception can lead to end-user frustration, delays in care for patients, delayed revenue or revenue loss, and an overall mistrust of the product and the IT implementation team.

 

Workflow analysis should start the day you sign your vendor contract. Of course, during the implementation, each vendor will have suggested workflows but most only consider the technological use of their product. They do not address any policies or procedures established by your institution. They do not include any State or local regulatory requirements that your organization is bound to. Finally, they do not consider the culture of your organization including the providers’ independence of practice. When I state providers’ independence of practice, I am not suggesting that standard tools and workflows should not be implemented and encouraged. What I am suggesting is that identifying workflows at your organization and having the tools to support those workflows is the first step to a successful go live and sustainability.

 

To accurately collect and document workflows, your IT team will need to heavily engage the subject matter experts. These include registration staff, transporters, nursing, physicians, surgeons, back office staff, medical records, pharmacists, radiologists, and the list goes on. Once the analyst understands how each of the users practice within the organization, they can start to configure the technology to support the workflow.

 

Technology should never define the workflow. But it should support and enhance the work, drive patient outcomes, and increase patient safety.


While performing workflow analysis, ease of use and best practices should always be considered. Most electronic health record (EHR) early adopters implemented their systems with the driving desire to fill the Meaningful Use agenda to ultimately receive incentives and avoiding penalties. Thankfully, those days are behind us and there have been many lessons learned. Physician burnout is one effect stated to be caused by EHR requirements and we have all heard the complaint about “too many clicks”. The role of the provider should not be defined by the number of clicks in the EHR. Be careful to design technology for ease of use, clean and intuitive workspaces, and to not take away from the patient experience.

 

In my opinion, users should not only be involved in the definition of the workflows and design of the product, but also the testing of the design. Usability testing is just as important as the initial workflow analysis. This gives us the chance to identify gaps in the design and user adoption before implementation.

 

The product and documentation that comes from the workflow analysis should also serve as the foundation of training for the system. I have found that EHR training cannot just be about the technical aspects of the system. It should also include relevant scenario-based training to include policies, and procedures held at the organization. End users want to know how this affects them personally. They also need to know the effect of not completing or performing a particular workflow. For example, if the system is built to drop a high dollar charge only if a particular box is clicked, how would the clinician know the downstream impact of revenue loss if they are not educated on the entire workflow. Finally, build the scenario training to include scenarios that the providers can relate to. If something does not seem realistic to a provider, he or she will be lost in that concept and not focused on learning the system.

 

The EHR journey can span years and effectively dictates, at least in part, the healthcare organization’s path and culture. This series examines the experiences of healthcare leaders that have been through it. Whether you’re selecting an EHR for the first time or replacing an existing system, the EHR journey is a daunting one. These lessons learned could be priceless to you and your organization.

 

Check back soon as the next post in this series will cover change management and governance and their importance throughout your EHR Journey.

 

Make sure to subscribe to our blog for the latest thought leadership in healthcare IT delivered directly to your inbox. You can also follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to join the conversation. Check back for our next Center Stage feature in the coming weeks.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
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When Doctors Choose a Job Based on the EHR

When Doctors Choose a Job Based on the EHR | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

I recently had lunch with a young doctor new to our community. The conversation wandered on to how she settled on her new position and the EHR was identified as one of her key selection criteria. She heavily favored positions with institutions running EPIC.

 

Interesting, I thought. Because when I took my first job, the brand of manilla folder used in the patient chart played no role in my decision. Clearly, times have changed. And so have the doctors.

What does this tell us about doctors and technology?

 

Not everybody hates electronic health records. The generation that never felt paper has officially entered the clinical workforce. And despite the popular press and their drive to perpetuate anti-EHR sentiment, not everyone hates EHRs.

 

Our experiences are increasingly defined by our tools. The clinical tools that surround us go a long way in determining our quality of life. So the EHR is likely to shape how we view a position. I’m working on my second EHR system in a decade and my day-to-day life is very different.

 

Technology can draw or repel talent. The technology we use and the systems we choose are likely to impact the docs we recruit and the talent we retain. Hospital systems that use dated and/or dysfunctional EHR systems are likely to feel the impact at some point.

 

An isolated case you might think. But the truth is that millennial physicians see the world and the workplace through a very different lens.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
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