When the Affordable Care Act was implemented, one of the regulations included in the law was the requirement that physicians convert to electronic medical record systems in order to collate patients entire medical history in one place. Physicians and nurses have been struggling to implement this one-size-fits-all health record system ever since.
In fact, 70% of physicians are unhappy with the new EMR systems. Specialists especially have difficulties, because they have different needs and different areas of focus from specialty to specialty, and the typical EMR system costs them precious time with patients and increases their costs dramatically. This has caused many of them to seek out better options for EMR implementation.
Specialists in Distress
Specialists are having to answer many pages of questions that have no relevance to their role in the patient’s care. This amounts to scrolling through and entering ‘N/A’ over and over and the physician ends up spending the visit with their face glued to the computer screen, not the patient’s face. It’s proving to be very inefficient and is a burden on both themselves and their nurses and staff. An EMR system that is specific to each specialty would be ideal.
The implication of having to do more data input work than is necessary is that physicians lose a great deal of money and patient care suffers. The appointments must be longer, so physicians are able to see fewer patients. If they are seeing the same number of patients, then patient care is suffering, as the time in actual interaction is reduced and exams are shortened in favor of entering pages of useless information. The nurses and other staff have to do the same thing as well, so the effect carries over throughout the whole practice. Unnecessary repetition can be can be removed from the process, however, and EMR technology is answering these problems with solutions.
Specialized Solutions are Available
As the systems are becoming customizable for different areas of practice, many EMR companies train all employees on how to most efficiently employ the new system. This helps to boost efficiency, and save time on performing data entry, that can be used in actual patient care, which increases the satisfaction of patients and frees up physicians to do the things that really matter. When searching for a company to implement their EMR systems, specialists should keep this fact in mind. It is better to go with a team that will train you to use their system as efficiently as possible.
These customizable programs allow the practice to streamline the data entered to the specific needs of the practice, and in some cases the specific needs of each clinician, according to their own personal workflow routine. For practices that provide specialized outpatient care, this will be extremely helpful. When choosing your EMR system, there are several factors to keep in mind.
Workflow is, perhaps, the most important. The forms in the system should flow in the order that they are needed throughout a patient interaction, so choosing one that mirrors the sequence of your specific practice is desirable. A mismatch between EMR system and workflow can be disastrous, as illustrated by a study from UC Berkley in 2010. It showed that when private practices’ EMR systems were implemented, productivity dropped sharply and even though it did eventually rise to some extent as they learned the system better, the practices never returned to their former level of productivity. Most of these practices identified a mismatch between their practice’s specific workflow and the EMR system as the culprit. Another problem that was identified was complicated user interfaces that consumed patient face-time, replacing it with the practitioner being engrossed in entering information not pertinent to their area of specialty, instead of being present with the patient.
Because of the increase in time required to operate confusing user interfaces, the system should be focused on user-friendliness. It should be easy to learn as possible to minimize training needs and maximize efficient use. One of the biggest productivity zappers is having to enter endless, useless information. The user interface can be customized to fit the preferences of the clinician and, in turn, reduce the amount of needless work, allowing the clinician more time to spend on patient care.
Streamlining processes is another consideration when working to design a private practice EMR system. Ideally, it should be possible to order prescriptions or labs from any form, which reduces the need to move back and forth from tab to tab, saving time and streamlining the entry process. There are other opportunities for streamlining available, and the technology is always getting better, which increases clinician satisfaction, as well as that of the patient.
One of the biggest problems with documentation is the requirement to enter the same information in different areas of charts. When this repetitious entry of the same data in different areas of the system is eliminated by having the information simultaneously entered in all areas that it is needed, you can drastically cut documentation requirements of clinicians and allow for more in-depth examination and more intimate face-time with patients.
As you can see, the age of specialized EMR systems is upon us and will greatly improve patient experience, reduce cost and increase efficiency in documentation for specialized outpatient care. The problems that face private practices when implementing EMR are being solved. Following the above guidelines will help you to choose the most efficacious system for your practice.
Implementing an EMR for your specialized outpatient care facility doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Find your right fit by working with the fully interoperable EMR experts at Net Health. Over 3,500 facilities rely on our specialized EMR solutions every day to help them streamline workflows, improve efficiency and reduce costs from start to finish. Schedule your demo today, and discover for yourself how finding the right fit for your facility makes all the difference.