IT Focus Area: Infrastructure Optimization
July 18, 2018
3 Ways to Make the Most of Your EHR & Avoid the Culture-Shift Lag
Electronic Health Records (EHRs) have changed the face (and the pace) of healthcare. Not only do EHRs empower clinicians and physicians to provide better care, they also enhance the experience of patients―all because they offer better access to data. EHRs are in the position of improving the care delivery process, giving real-time information and updates to caregivers at point-of-care. This means that advanced patient data, like lab and imaging results, are available to caregivers instantly so they have the most accurate information to properly treat patients.
Furthermore, EHRs—when implemented effectively—aim to help patients and caregivers beyond a single visit with the ability to share necessary information, such as a patient’s history, with other organizations seamlessly, no matter the location. The data collected for EHRs is key to practicing proactive healthcare; it helps keep caregivers informed and streamlining their workflow.
3 Ways to Optimize Your EHR
As with any technology though, optimization is ongoing. EHRs are continually evolving to support the changing needs of the healthcare industry with new features, software enhancements, and better usability tools. So how can healthcare organizations maximize their EHR and make the most out of all this aggregated data?
Here are three ways to optimize your EHR:
- Anticipate change, remove complexities
Change can be difficult, even when it comes with the positive outcomes that EHRs offer. From a technology perspective, it is really important to recognize that there is enough change occurring for the end user with the EHR implementation alone. EHRs shift the way that clinicians practice, so anything that can be done to remove the complexities on the backend is essential to long-term user adoption. Direct your focus on how to make your technology ecosystem reflective, easy-to-use and natural. This is good to keep in mind whether you are just starting your transition to EHR or staying up to speed with upgrades to your technology or processes.
For long-term effectiveness, it is also crucial to understand what data your organization is using, how you are progressing in your data management, and how you are taking advantage of new technologies to help anticipate your data management needs. Understanding your data usage and management can reduce complexities and help you develop better disaster recovery, while improving how you use the data to interact with patients and other healthcare organizations.
- Streamline efficiencies, reduce cost
All the data gathered with an EHR can create efficiencies in patient throughput—and in turn, an organization’s bottom line. By having access to real-time data, caregivers can make more accurate decisions about patients to improve their lives, reduce their length of stay, and in-turn, potentially reduce the overall cost for the organization. An optimized EHR system can help organizations use the data collected to easily measure throughput efficiency, quality efficiency, outcome improvements, and patient safety initiatives.
- Drive lasting user adoption, improve workflow
User adoption is crucial to EHR implementation, so optimization often becomes a matter of helping your organization fully embrace the culture shift. Because EHRs are so beneficial to caregivers, they are often excited for the opportunity to help patients quickly and with more accuracy. Clinicians and physicians tend to be highly engaged at first, but optimization takes time, and adoption-fatigue often occurs after a period of time.
To maintain some of the initial engagement momentum, make sure that updates and modifications to your EHR are strategic and intentional. If users continue to see their workflow improved and streamlined, ultimately, your EHR will prove to be a valuable investment. Caregivers and staff are encouraged by ongoing positive results—from better patient outcomes to more efficiency in the way they perform their jobs. By acting as agents of change through the technology, you can facilitate their new culture adoption and how they utilize their EHR.
To Make the Most of Your Data, Cut the Culture-Shift Lag
Healthcare organizations are always looking for ways to improve quality of care, while reducing the cost of providing that care. Without a good data management strategy, this challenge is insurmountable.
An optimized EHR can create a better record for caregivers to refine the quality-of-care delivery process, reduce errors, and make essential information available at the right time to improve patient care. Understanding how to access and use all the aggregated data acquired both inside and outside an EHR is crucial for healthcare organizations, but can be difficult to achieve. By removing complexities, streamlining efficiencies, and driving ongoing user adoption, the data aggregation from an EHR can bring new innovations to improve process, automation and patient care in the healthcare industry.