Making an EHR Work for You

Six years ago, President George W. Bush stated that “by computerizing health records, we can avoid dangerous medical mistakes, reduce costs and improve care.” Since then, computerization has slowly improved the health care system, especially in light of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which provided $19 billion in incentives to health care providers that use EHRs. Why they fail, according to experts from the Institute of Medicine who visited health care facilities, may be because they’re simply hard to use: Health care providers have to flip among many screens to access data, which can be more cumbersome that working with paper charts. Choosing an EHR that works for you is the first step in successfully implementing one: Improvements health care providers would like to see in EHR systems (in order of priority, highest to lowest) include increased speed, easier use, lower cost, removal of unnecessary functions, a tie between greater interoperability with other systems, and better remote access. Another step to successful EHR implementation is placing less emphasis on computers and more emphasis on streamlining work flows, according to an Institute of Medicine report . It’s essential to tailor your EHR to fit within established staff work flows. No EHR will meet every single user’s needs, of course, but you can decide which aspects should work for all users and which aspects can be adjusted on a case-by-case basis. To do this, talk to your staff and your IT provider—and be sure you have their recommendations and cooperation before proceeding. Related articles: Health care IT isn’t living up to the hype Six years ago, President George W. Bush stated that “by computerizing health records, we can avoid dangerous medical mistakes, reduce costs and improve care.”

Since then, computerization has slowly improved the health care system, especially in light of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which provided $19 billion in incentives to health care providers that use EHRs.

Why they fail, according to experts from the Institute of Medicine who visited health care facilities, may be because they’re simply hard to use: Health care providers have to flip among many screens to access data, which can be more cumbersome that working with paper charts.

Choosing an EHR that works for you is the first step in successfully implementing one: Improvements health care providers would like to see in EHR systems (in order of priority, highest to lowest) include increased speed, easier use, lower cost, removal of unnecessary functions, a tie between greater interoperability with other systems, and better remote access.

Another step to successful EHR implementation is placing less emphasis on computers and more emphasis on streamlining work flows, according to an Institute of Medicine report. It’s essential to tailor your EHR to fit within established staff work flows. No EHR will meet every single user’s needs, of course, but you can decide which aspects should work for all users and which aspects can be adjusted on a case-by-case basis.

To do this, talk to your staff and your IT provider—and be sure you have their recommendations and cooperation before proceeding.

Related articles: Health care IT isn’t living up to the hype

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.