Continuous improvement is what EHR Optimization is all about. It helps clinicians use the platform more effectively and results in greater efficiency. For example, an optimized EHR system enables physicians to move more quickly through data intake and ultimately see more patients.
The key phrase there is obviously “optimized EHR system”. Many a physician have fallen victim to EHR implementations that were not followed up with optimization. In these cases, it can be a burden on physicians to plug everything into a tablet or computer, rather than the old-fashioned way of just scribbling down a few notes on a piece of paper. Of course, this is yet another reason why optimization is so crucial.
As part of the overall optimization process, an organization must identify those issues that cause the most serious inefficiencies (such as the one outlined above). Aside from any purely technical concerns with the platform, the end use of the EHR system by staff resources will often be the space where issues first arise. EHR optimization should incorporate continuous training to ensure users are fully aware of all the benefits of the application, while also fostering an environment of open communication about any problems that are being encountered.
One goal of optimization is to make EHR technology work as effectively as possible for the end user. Ideally, extensive training that incorporates best practices would accompany the rollout of the system, and an electronic health records specialist would be responsible for leading the training or guiding its development. After the initial training, providing continuing education to clinicians helps lead to further optimization and does the following:
Ensures Internal Resources Use Advanced Features
One thing to look at during training is whether end users understand the potential of the platform. In many cases, the parts of training that stick with internal resources are the most basic uses or the ones that imitate the functionality of previous systems.
It’s important to go beyond this. By providing education about the more advanced uses of the platform, internal resources will be able to use the EHR system in ways that provide the most benefit to the organization as a whole.
Helps Develop Advocates Among Clinicians
Part of this process includes shoring up relationships with super-users among the physicians, nurses, and pharmacy professionals. These individuals can act as coaches to help spread best practices among the people they work with. It’s important to identify these champions and leverage them as part of the optimization process. Their hands-on experience and willingness to support the platform, train other staff, and help identify issues makes them invaluable to the optimization project.
In many situations, it can be difficult to get internal resources on the same page. Having someone in the ranks to promote and help with the system can serve to counter this resistance.
Provides Valuable Data To The Optimization Team
Training allows those in information services to interact directly with clinicians. This provides an opportunity to increase buy-in among these end users while also gaining valuable data that can be relayed to the optimization team. These end user clinicians can point out any problems they have encountered using the system.
Furthermore, having training sessions for compartmentalized groups allows a closer look at each department’s unique needs. This can improve not only the training itself, but it can give the optimization team insight that helps them plan more strategically, tweaking goals based on end-user experience.
Often, the most effective optimizations are discovered through the type of exchanges that occur during collaborative training. The process can also give a better idea of the organization’s overall optimization needs, which helps with calculating and requesting the necessary financial resources.
This article was originally published on Healthcare IS and is republished here with permission.