Right Physician, Wrong Tool — Rethinking How to Use Your EHR

Karen Clark

Physician burnout is a serious issue today, and it’s not difficult to understand why. The HITECH Act created a “cram down” of EHR technology to physicians at a faster pace than was optimal. Combine that with the Meaningful Use requirements, and you understand why physicians and their staff are soured on EHR technology. While CMS has made yearly changes to the MU (and now MIPS) data requirements in an effort to reduce clinician burden, the real-world result has been a dizzying tempo of changes and requirements that can leave clinicians feeling that they’ve had enough.

 

The answer to this problem is the strategic use of EHR technology, combined with a strong mobile offering that allows most physicians to complete their daily work on a mobile device–not a computer.

As health IT professionals, it is vital that we review the current requirements for reporting and compliance, and compare that to what is being collected as discrete data. Ask yourself –are you collecting data that was required for Meaningful Use but not by MIPS? If so, why? Does anyone use it? Does it improve patient care or provide any business value? If not, why are you doing it?

Make the physician experience your focus, and challenge yourself to find workflows that
minimize the physician interaction with the application and allow time and energy for patient care.

Incorporate voice recognition

Have you abandoned the patient narrative in favor of canned notes? It might be time to re-visit that decision. With the wide variety of voice-to-text recognition available, incorporating dictated narrative is easier today than ever and accomplishes several things:

  • it provides a richer and more personalized patient record

  • it allows the physician to follow natural thought patterns when documenting
  • it reduces the need to use a laptop or exam room computer.

Make sure a mobile solution is available

Next—demand that your EHR vendor provide a practical, workable mobile solution designed for clinicians. What does that mean? Keep the feature set small and performance fast. Put it on a tablet form factor that fits in a lab coat pocket.

We use our smartphones and tablets to map our route, buy an airline ticket, do our banking and find a ride. Isn’t it time we demand that same level of functionality and ease of use from our EHR?

 

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