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Enhancing Patient Care with EHRs: Improving Clinical Decision-Making and Outcomes

Monday, July 24th, 2023
ehr patient care

The importance of electronic health records (EHRs) systems in today’s healthcare landscape cannot be understated. They are essential for patient safety and improving healthcare quality

As data volume grows exponentially, traditional methods of maintaining large files and paper-based medical records have become increasingly challenging for healthcare organizations. Because of its capability to digitize patient information exchange and other clinical and administrative workflows, EHRs play a crucial role in patient safety and improving clinical decision-making and outcomes.

Discover the advantages of using EHR in improving patient care and how it helps practices maintain comprehensive patient records.

Leverage Your EHR to Improve Clinical Decision-Making and Outcomes

EHRs impact providers’ ability to make accurate clinical assessments, including predicting patients’ susceptibility to particular diseases. Here are ways to maximize your EHR software and leverage its features to improve care quality and patient outcomes:

  • Behavioral and Mental Health: EHRs can incorporate information about a patient’s behavioral and mental health, including assessments, therapy notes, and treatment plans. You can address physical and mental health needs by taking a holistic view of patient care..
  • Chronic Disease Management: EHRs support managing chronic conditions by tracking disease-specific metrics such as blood glucose levels for diabetes or lung function for asthma. 
  • Allergies and Adverse Reactions: EHRs document a patient’s known allergies and adverse reactions to medications, foods, or other substances. It helps minimize allergic reactions or adverse events by alerting you and your patients to potential risks.
  • Vital Signs Monitoring: Many EHRs interface with devices that measure and record vital signs such as blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature. As a result, real-time monitoring of vital signs allows you to monitor patients’ conditions better and adjust treatment plans accordingly, resulting in improved patient care.
  • Laboratory and Test Results: EHRs integrate with laboratory systems, allowing you to view results such as blood work, imaging reports, and pathology tests. This process enables you to understand test results, which assists in diagnosis and treatment planning.

5 Benefits of EHRs for Enhancing Patient Care

As EHR technology evolves, it’s increasingly becoming a fundamental tool that gives you a broader understanding of a patient’s health. On top of making vital patient information more accessible and comprehensive, here are five other ways EHR systems enhance patient care:

1. Better Coordination of Care

EHR systems can improve care coordination and reduce fragmented care. All providers involved in the patient’s care can easily access and integrate patient health information using EHR technology. For instance, it can alert you when a patient is hospitalized, enabling proactive follow-up.

By using EHRs, you can access accurate and up-to-date information about your patients, which is especially crucial in delivering quality patient care. This technology is particularly beneficial in situations such as:

  • Consulting with several specialists;
  • Getting medical care in emergency settings; and
  • Moving between different care settings.

When information is readily available, you will be aware that another specialist is monitoring your specific patient’s condition. This process prevents unnecessary testing and reduces additional costs.

2. Efficient Workflows

Streamlining workflows through electronic processes leads to enhanced patient care in two ways. First, electronic processes based on specific rules enhance patient care by streamlining information flow. 

Whenever you enter specific information, the system performs related tasks automatically—no need for manual intervention. It reduces the chances of errors and saves valuable time. For example, the EHR system generates a consent form whenever you order a procedure. You and your patients will benefit from this process since it accelerates documentation.

Second, the time-saving benefits of using efficient electronic methods are crucial for enhancing patient care. Studies indicate that doctors spend approximately 16 minutes per patient on charting. A simple and efficient method is, therefore, crucial. By using EHR technology that streamlines charting processes, users can avoid having to switch between multiple screens or pages and work at a more organized pace.

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3. Greater Level of Efficiency 

EHRs enhance workflow efficiency as they enable centralized management of patient charts, unlike paper records. You can swiftly access patient information from anywhere using specific queries tailored to their conditions. This feature saves time and ensures convenient and prompt access to crucial data. 

Moreover, EHRs facilitate faster and more traceable communication with other clinicians, insurance providers, pharmacies, and diagnostic centers, reducing lost messages and follow-up calls. When it comes to automated scheduling, you can seamlessly track your patients’ progress notes and insurance claims. The importance of electronic health records also lies in this integrated feature which saves time and improves patient care.

4. Makes the Decision-Making Process Easier

The integration of clinical decision-support tools in EHRs eases the cognitive burden. For example, EHRs facilitate follow-up appointments, rescheduling upcoming appointments, and sending patient reminders electronically to their pharmacies. To achieve better EHR outcomes, you must also conduct proper training in your EHR system to ensure it will seamlessly integrate with your existing workflow. 

Furthermore, you can obtain a comprehensive view of a patient’s health using analytics and customizable reports within EHR systems without manually reviewing previous records. With these snapshots, you can deliver more personalized care and minimize cognitive and time demands while gaining valuable insights into a patient’s health.

5. Safer Use of Electronic Prescriptions

Medication errors cause 7,000 to 9,000 deaths every year in the United States. As a healthcare provider, safe medication use is one of your top priorities. To advance medication safety, you need to order medications electronically. With this in mind, you must integrate your EHRs with advanced e-prescribing systems.

Improving patient care is a crucial benefit of e-prescribing. It ensures that prescriptions are clear and readable (legible). EHRs that integrate e-prescribing software can provide an audit trail of all prescribing activities, including when and who prescribed medication. These prescriptions are checked against the patient’s electronic medication record to identify any potentially harmful interactions at the time of prescribing.

This software makes it easier to detect and rectify prescription errors or discrepancies.

Choose the Top EMR/EHR Software 

With the help of EHRs, you can gain a deeper understanding of a patient’s health, which empowers you to make more informed clinical decisions. It’s crucial, though, for EHR systems to seamlessly integrate with your existing systems to optimize software efficiency. This integration not only brings financial and operational benefits but also enables you to deliver more comprehensive and inclusive care to your patients. Thus, you can achieve exceptional patient outcomes with EHRs as your ally.

Over the years, we have assisted medical practices with EHR/EMR selection, implementation, and software usage. We provide customized EMR/EHR software to meet your practice’s needs.

Schedule a demo or contact us through the contact form for more personalized information. Let’s work together to find the best software for your practice!

Do you have a favorite EHR add-on service? Feel free to comment below!

EHR Implementation Best Practices: A Step-by-Step Guide

Wednesday, July 5th, 2023
EHR Implementation

Implementing an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system in healthcare can be challenging, especially because it alters the workflow in your practice. Thus, your clinic’s EHR implementation must run smoothly to avoid disrupting other operations.

Throughout this blog, we will go over everything about EHRs, the implementation process, and best practices for implementing them.

Why Is EHR Software Important?

The purpose of EHR software is to collect, record, and maintain patient data. These include patient demographics, medical history, diagnoses, medications, prescriptions, allergy lists, and lab results. In an EHR, patient data is organized, making it easier for healthcare workers to analyze a patient’s chart before or during a visit. As a provider, note-taking within an EHR system enables future providers to access, view, and update these records.

What Is the EHR Implementation Process?

As a healthcare provider who wants to implement an EHR into your practice, you must follow this systematic approach — the EHR implementation process. It involves planning, vendor selection, system customization, data migration, training, and go-live. Moreover, it enhances patient care coordination, improves efficiency, and ensures regulatory compliance. Collaboration among providers, IT teams, stakeholders, and effective change management is essential for successful EHR implementation.

6 Best Practices in EHR Implementation: A Step-by-Step Guide

We provide a step-by-step EHR implementation guide to ensure your practice’s success. Still, trying to figure out where to start? We have you covered!

EHR Consultation 

  1. Determine your requirements for EHR software

It’s determining what features and functionalities your practice requires in an EHR. For this reason, it’s essential to understand your healthcare delivery needs before purchasing EHR software to maximize its potential.

  1. Choose a vendor that meets your needs

You may need an EHR consultant if you have difficulty selecting the right EHR vendor for your practice. Understanding your requirements, they help you shortlist vendors aligned with your needs. Their evaluations consider various factors, including vendor reputation, product reliability, and support services.

  1. Specify your budget

An EHR consultant helps you create an accurate budget by considering all the costs, including software licenses, hardware, training, implementation, and maintenance. By following their advice, you can avoid unexpected expenses during EHR implementation.

  1. Negotiate a solid contract. 

An EHR consultant can help you negotiate with the vendor during contract negotiations. If you’re on your own, you must ensure the agreement contains favorable legal terms and is transparent to protect your investment.

Implementation Meeting 

  1. Conduct a thorough needs assessment. 

This assessment provides valuable insights into existing workflows, documentation methods, and data management practices. By carefully examining these areas, your organization can improve processes and align with the EHR system. This way, you can tailor your EHR system implementation strategy to address specific challenges.

  1. Create an EHR implementation plan or checklist. 

After the assessment stage, start planning if you are ready. In the planning stage, you outline all the processes your medical team, practice manager, IT staff, and patients must follow. For this purpose, your checklist can also serve as a roadmap. It is a table-like document that you can use to chart the stages of the development of your EHR product. You can align EHR technology with your practice’s needs with a roadmap. Also, it will assist you in developing your EHR implementation strategy and utmost goals.

  1. Schedule your EHR implementation training. 

You and your staff should receive training to use the new EHR system proficiently. Moreover, the meeting allows discussion on the training curriculum and identifying specific training needs based on user roles. If you plan training sessions well in advance, you can maximize preparation time and minimize disruptions during go-live.

Implementation Training and Education 

  1. Provide comprehensive staff training and education: Meet with department leads (Super User)

We understand the significance of engaging with department leads — Super Users, throughout the EHR implementation process. As a provider, you can rely on our Super Users for support behind the scenes as they assist with implementation. Through comprehensive training, we ensure you are proficient in utilizing our EHR system, customizing it to meet department-specific needs, and establishing efficient workflows. 

In addition, they are the most crucial since they serve as guides and assist your other staff. Their additional responsibilities include configuring EHR software, creating templates and order sets, and standard operating procedures to address user concerns.

  1. Meet with remaining staff (End Users) for training

Engaging with our End Users and your staff members who will interact with the EHR system is a priority to ensure they receive the necessary education and support. Our training sessions cover EHR functionality, data entry, documentation processes, and quality assurance for their specific roles and responsibilities.

Thorough training enhances staff proficiency, encourages user adoption, and reduces the risks of errors or workflow disruptions. We provide ongoing training and support to empower our staff, enabling them to utilize the EHR system fully. 

Go- Live Assessment Meeting 

  1. Consider your organization’s readiness. 

The process to determine whether your organization can transition from paper records to an EHR system. Before implementing a new system, you must assess various aspects of your practice’s operations to identify potential problems. As a result, your practice can ensure smooth integration and avoid significant changes.

  1. Ensure all leaders of your organization and staff know the go-live date. 

It is important to align expectations and responsibilities among key stakeholders by establishing clear communication. You can foster a collaborative approach and facilitate a successful go-live process involving various departments and leaders.

  1. Be transparent about everyone’s readiness. 

EHR implementation success relies on everyone being ready, not just a few individuals. Your staff will feel more accountable if you promote transparency and highlight the impact of individual preparedness.

  1. Assess where your organization needs more training. 

This assessment identifies any knowledge or skill gaps hindering a smooth transition. You can provide training and support to address specific needs by pinpointing these areas. This proactive approach ensures your staff has the tools and knowledge needed to use the EHR system during go-live, reducing potential errors.

Clearing House Process 

  1. Assess current interfaces. 

During the EHR implementation process, it is crucial to assess existing interfaces to ensure smooth integration. If you evaluate the compatibility and functionality of interfaces, you can identify any gaps or issues that may arise during implementation. It promotes efficient data exchange and interoperability by resolving interface-related challenges.

  1. Configure and customize the EHR system to meet your needs. 

Configuring and customizing the EHR system to align with your organization’s needs is essential for optimizing its functionality and usability. By tailoring the system to your workflows, documentation requirements, and clinical processes, you can enhance user experience, improve efficiency, and ensure a better fit within your organization. This customization enables a more intuitive and tailored experience for healthcare providers, improving patient care and streamlined workflows.

  1. Assist practices with referrals for additional Electronic Medical Record (EMR) & Practice Management (PM) interfaces. 

Additional interfaces may be necessary to ensure compatibility with an EHR system. As a provider, you can leverage interoperability benefits by recommending compatible interfaces, allowing smooth data exchange, more efficient care coordination, and better practice management.

  1. Redesign workflows to optimize the EHR system. 

Implementing an EHR will alter the way patients move within your organization. The process of workflow redesign involves:

  • Mapping out the current state of your organization’s workflows and how it gets its work done.
  • Consider how EHRs will improve your organization’s efficiency and quality of care by mapping out new workflows.

The goal of workflow redesign is to increase usability and functionality, resulting in shorter documentation times and higher productivity.

  1. Migrate and validate data to ensure accuracy. 

Data validation is a key factor that determines the success of data migration. It can be done in stages to catch errors in migrated data early. You must assign functional experts and migration teams to ensure the migrated data is accurate and the specified system transactions are successfully completed.

Prepare for Your EHR Implementation Go-Live Day 

It’s time to plan how to launch your new EHR system after your staff has become comfortable and proficient in using the EHR.

Two main methods are available for going live:

  • A full-throttle approach. This approach introduces all of the features of the EHR system to your practice all at once. Using this approach can be helpful, but it can also be challenging if you are unaware of issues or novelties during launch.
  • A slow and steady pace. You introduce the features of an EHR system one by one this way. As a first step, you can introduce appointment scheduling, then medical billing features. Your staff and patients can use the EHR system more quickly this way.

During go-live day, it’s always a good idea to lower your patient volume and inform your patients of the change. In this way, you can ensure a smooth and stress-free implementation of your EHR.

How long does EHR implementation take?

The timeline for implementing an EMR varies depending on several factors, including:

  • The complexity of the system
  • The size of your organization
  • The location of your server (cloud-based versus on-site).

In general, EHR implementation takes 60 to 120 days. Implementing an EHR system for a smaller practice (or modifying an existing system) may take six to nine months, while cloud-based systems will probably take only a few weeks.

If you’re tired of lengthy and costly EHR implementations, don’t worry. At 1st Providers Choice, we can help you implement EHRs promptly and cost-effectively. We proudly offer a fast and efficient EHR implementation solution to have your practice running in just six weeks.

Our streamlined implementation process ensures quick and seamless integration of your electronic health records system by leveraging the expertise of our dedicated team of experts. 

Therefore, don’t let the burden of lengthy implementations weigh you down. Your practice and patients deserve nothing less!

Choose the Top EHR Software 

If you’re looking to enhance your EHR system, we offer personalized EMR/EHR software customization services. We understand that each practice has specific requirements, and our experts will work closely with you to develop a customized solution that aligns with your workflows and goals.

Over the years, we have assisted healthcare providers with EMR selection, implementation, and software usage. If you’re also looking at improving EHR systems, we can customize EMR/EHR software to meet your office needs. 

Schedule a demo or contact us through the contact form for more personalized information. Our team will provide an in-depth demonstration of our software’s features and functionalities, specifically addressing your practice’s needs. Let’s work together to find the best software solutions for your practice.

Do you have a favorite EHR add-on service? Feel free to comment below!