EHR (Electronic Health Records) plays a pivotal role in administering quality care and documenting patient medical data. From offering services like appointment booking to e-prescriptions, EHRs have come a long way. They’re quite useful in providing secured payment gateways, managing medication, and enhancing patient safety. It is due to these reasons alone, that the EHR market is anticipated to rise at a CAGR of 5 percent from 2022 to 2031 and garner a revenue of $50.3 billion during the forecasted timeframe.
There is still scope for improvement in the EHR and by bridging certain gaps, EHR will become a perfect tool for effective treatment and care. This article highlights how to improve EHR in the best possible ways.
Compelling Ways to Improve EHR
1. Work on EHR Usability
The HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) defines EHR usability as the effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction with which users can accomplish tasks. In other words, EHR usability determines how easy and satisfactory a solution is for users. An easy-to-use EHR not only ensures seamless data entry for physicians but also enhances patient experience.
Healthcare development companies can improve EHR usability by tackling challenges such as cognitive workload, gaps in providing high-quality care, and care coordination. EHR developers can create solutions that offer concise, context-sensitive, and real-time data management to handle cognitive workload.
Furthermore, focus on creating EHRs that seamlessly fit into the practice and do not distract physicians from their work. Awareness about clinical operations, workflow considerations, documentation, and attention to team-based care can help to create an EHR with better usability and tackle the issue of high-quality care.
Additionally, develop an EHR that automatically tracks consultations and referrals actively and follows patients’ progress throughout the care routine. The same approach can be used for checking whether lab results have been conveyed to patients or not, and whether prescriptions are refilled or not. All of these solutions help to augment usability and improve EHR quality.
2. Streamline Documentation Process
Another way to improve EHR is to streamline the documentation process. This can be done by the following methods:
1. Optimize EHR interface
In a broader sense, the EHR interface is the overall look and functioning of an EHR system. An interface is needed to navigate features integrated into an EHR. A cluttered interface can have a disastrous impact, starting with repetitive tests and medication prescription processes, including documentation. A simple, well-designed, and high-performing interface maintains, records, and manages patient data, so providers have the right information and make the best decisions for patients.
2. Leveraging Technology
Integrating technologies such as voice and speech recognition, connected devices, and artificial intelligence can speed up the EHR documentation process tenfold. The latest technologies reduce clinician’s time spent in data entry, thereby decreasing their workload and burnout rate. Research suggests that physicians spend more time on the documentation process compared to their patients. With advanced technologies like NLP (Natural Language Processing), the EHR documentation process can be simplified.
3. EHR Training
EHR technology is continuously updated and healthcare staff need to be aware of the recent changes for seamless documentation. Progress notes support patient-provider communication, clinical decision-making, billing, institutional coding, etc. For all of these aspects, and patient safety and treatment, physicians need to know how to effectively document progress notes in electronic health records. Training and education is crucial for this. Ensure that the staff is properly trained on EHR documentation before updating the system or before the implementation of a new EHR software.
3. Strive For EHR Optimization
Electronic Health Records (EHRs) have revolutionized healthcare by digitizing patient information, improving data accessibility, and enhancing the quality of care. However, to fully realize the benefits of EHR systems and address some of the challenges they pose, healthcare organizations must implement effective EHR optimization strategies. These strategies aim to maximize the value of EHR systems while minimizing their drawbacks.
Here are some key EHR optimization strategies:
- User Training and Education: Investing in comprehensive training for healthcare staff is crucial. Users need to be proficient in navigating the EHR interface, entering data accurately, and understanding system functionalities. Ongoing education ensures that staff stay updated on system upgrades and changes.
- Customization and Tailoring: EHR systems should be tailored to the specific needs and workflows of the healthcare organization. Customization allows for the inclusion of specialty-specific templates, order sets, and documentation requirements, reducing workflow disruptions and increasing efficiency.
- Clinical Decision Support (CDS) Enhancement: Implementing or refining CDS tools within the EHR can assist healthcare providers in making informed decisions at the point of care. These tools can help reduce errors, improve adherence to clinical guidelines, and enhance patient outcomes.
- Interoperability: Ensuring that the EHR system can seamlessly exchange data with other healthcare systems and external providers is crucial for comprehensive patient care. Integration with laboratory systems, pharmacies, and other external sources can reduce duplicate data entry and improve information accuracy.
- Workflow Optimization: Analyzing and optimizing clinical workflows within the EHR can reduce inefficiencies. Workflow analysis should involve input from clinicians and other end-users to identify pain points and opportunities for improvement.
- Mobile Access: Enabling secure mobile access to EHR systems allows healthcare providers to access patient data from anywhere, improving care coordination and accessibility. Mobile optimization should prioritize usability and data security.
- Data Analytics and Reporting: Leverage the EHR’s data analytics capabilities to gain insights into clinical and operational performance. Implement dashboards and reporting tools to track key performance indicators, identify trends, and support data-driven decision-making.
- Patient Engagement: Enhance patient engagement by using the EHR to provide patients with access to their health information, appointment scheduling, and secure messaging with healthcare providers. Engaged patients tend to have better health outcomes.
- Data Quality Improvement: Develop data quality initiatives to ensure that the information within the EHR is accurate, complete, and up to date. Regular data audits and data stewardship programs can help maintain data integrity.
- Regulatory Compliance: Stay up to date with evolving healthcare regulations and standards. EHR optimization should prioritize compliance with requirements such as HIPAA, Meaningful Use (now Promoting Interoperability), and other industry-specific guidelines.
- Continuous Improvement: EHR optimization is an ongoing process. Establish a governance structure and feedback mechanism that allows for continuous improvement, incorporating user feedback and evolving technology trends.
- Vendor Collaboration: Collaborate with EHR vendors to provide feedback on system enhancements, report issues, and stay informed about future developments and updates. Strong vendor partnerships can facilitate smoother optimization efforts.
EHR optimization is a dynamic process that evolves with changing healthcare needs and technology advancements. By prioritizing these strategies, healthcare organizations can harness the full potential of their EHR systems, leading to improved patient care, streamlined workflows, and better overall efficiency in healthcare delivery.
If you’re looking for an EHR system that offers you exceptional features, great usability, and compliance, then connect with Arkenea, a leading healthcare software development company that builds and delivers state-of-the-art healthcare software.