A recent article from Healthcare IT News outlines how “shrewd investments of time” by healthcare organizations, throughout all stages of EHR implementation, can help reduce the frustrations too often associated with that technology.
Here's our take on the key points:
Involve end-users in the selection process.
End-user satisfaction is one of the many long-term implications of decisions made during the EHR selection process. Engaging physicians and hospital staff in the process provides insight into which system best meets their needs in terms of design, functionality, and long-term usability. Involving staff in vendor visits — and having them “score” the product demonstrations — can increase satisfaction with whatever solution is chosen, helping to avoid the dreaded “EHR burnout.”
Focus on simplicity.
Excessive customization during implementation should be avoided, as it can make the system too complicated and confuse end-users. This advice is backed by a recent report from Pew Charitable Trusts; the research team says;
“These customizations — which may be requested by a health care facility or staff — may not have undergone rigorous testing by the care team or the product developer to detect potential safety concerns.”
Make tech support a priority.
Even though healthcare organizations as a whole understand the impact effective EHR systems have on delivery of patient care, surveys have shown that tech support for those systems is generally a low priority for hospital leadership. This lack of focus inevitably leads to lackluster support; in fact, 85 percent of surveyed hospital staff report that subpar EHR system tech support continually hinders patient care. This pattern needs to be reversed; healthcare organizations must ensure that robust EHR system tech support is available to end-users both during and after implementation.
These steps, while easy to state, are admittedly challenging to bring to life. But investing the time and resources needed to make them a reality can help avoid the frustrations associated with EHR systems and — much more importantly — can lead to better patient outcomes.