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Archive for the ‘EHR Usability’ Category

EHR Usability: How to Maintain Accessibility Across Generations

Wednesday, June 26th, 2024
EHR usability for all generations

We recognize that electronic health records (EHRs) are essential for modern medical practices, but have you ever thought about how their usability can make or break your daily workflow? Usability and accessibility aren’t just buzzwords—they’re the keys to making EHRs work for you, not against you.

Why does this matter? A user-friendly EHR can transform how you manage patient data, reducing errors and saving valuable time. Plus, with a diverse team that spans different generations, it’s crucial to have a healthcare EHR that everyone can use efficiently, from the youngest digital natives to the most experienced professionals. 

Let’s dive into why usability is important and share tips on making EHRs more accessible for everyone in your practice.

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Understanding Generational Differences

Intuitive use of an EHR in healthcare can vary significantly across different generations. Each age group has its own set of preferences and comfort levels with EHR technology. By understanding these nuances, you can tailor your systems to be more accessible for everyone on your team.

Baby Boomers

These healthcare veterans benefit from an EHR design that minimizes complexity and enhances readability. Baby boomers often appreciate the larger text, simplified interfaces, and clear instructions. Features like adjustable text size, straightforward navigation, and step-by-step guidance can make their experience more comfortable and efficient.

Generation X

Generation X values multitasking capabilities. They often balance numerous responsibilities and need an EHR system to streamline their workflow. This group requires quick access to patient information, features for managing multiple tasks simultaneously, and tools that reduce redundant data entry. 

Millennials and Generation Z

The impact of EHR design is profound for Millennials and Generation Z. As digital natives, they expect seamless technology integration and prioritize mobile accessibility. This group raves about EHRs that are fully functional on mobile platforms, have user-friendly interfaces, and can synchronize with health wearables. These features enhance their engagement and boost electronic record-keeping in healthcare practices.

Discover the convenience of our user-friendly EHRs—browse our glowing testimonials and get in touch to learn more!

Designing for Older Adults

As the healthcare industry evolves, it’s crucial to design EHRs that cater to older healthcare providers’ needs. Here are some key considerations:

  • Larger Text and Icons

Enhancing readability and navigation is essential. Incorporating larger text and icons makes EHRs more user-friendly for older clinicians. Clear, easily visible text and icons help them navigate the system more efficiently, reducing the risk of errors.

  • Simplified Navigation

Another crucial consideration is reducing the number of clicks required to perform everyday tasks. By simplifying navigation and leveraging icons, you can ensure that older clinicians can access necessary information quickly and easily. This, in turn, enhances the user-friendliness of EHRs by streamlining the user interface and minimizing complexity.

  • Training and Support

Offering tutorials, webinars, and ongoing support tailored to older adults is crucial for effective EHR usage. Comprehensive training materials and personalized support help older clinicians feel confident and competent when using the system. Ongoing support ensures they can address challenges and fully utilize the EHR’s capabilities.

Enhancing Usability for Younger Users

Young physician with an EHR

Young healthcare professionals are embracing technology to make their work more efficient. Improving the user experience of electronic health records is crucial to meet the needs of this tech-savvy generation.

Here are some key strategies to engage these team members:

  • Mobile Accessibility

Ensuring full functionality on smartphones and tablets is paramount. Younger users are accustomed to using mobile devices for various tasks, including accessing information on the go. By optimizing EHRs for mobile accessibility, healthcare professionals can conveniently access patient data, review records, and input information from anywhere, at any time.

  • Integration with Wearable Devices

Syncing health data from wearables to EHRs enhances usability for younger users who often rely on wearable devices to track health metrics. Integrating wearables with EHRs allows seamless data transfer, providing a comprehensive overview of patients’ health status. This integration enables young professionals to provide personalized care based on real-time data collected from wearable devices.

  • Gamification and Engagement Tools

By incorporating gamification elements (e.g., badges and progress tracking), EHRs can transform into a tool that enhances usability and fosters a sense of achievement and motivation among younger healthcare professionals. This approach encourages regular and efficient use of the EHR, leading to increased engagement and improved workflow.

Universal Design Principles

Transitioning to a new EHR system can significantly impact a health system’s performance, patient safety, and clinician well-being. Choosing an EHR that doesn’t fit well with the organization can disrupt work and put patient safety at risk. 

Conducting a usability walkthrough helps engage end-users in evaluating EHRs and gaining stakeholder support. A usability walkthrough is similar to simulation testing, where users identify potential usability issues by discussing tasks.

Also, practices should consider the universal design principles that apply to exceptional EHRs in healthcare practices:

  • Consistency: Maintaining a consistent layout and design throughout the EHR system is essential.
  • Feedback Mechanisms: Immediate feedback should be provided for user actions to prevent errors and confusion.
  • Accessibility Standards: Adhering to accessibility standards (e.g., WCAG) ensures usability for people with disabilities.

Enhancing Usability and Reducing Documentation Burden

EHR documentation, often burdensome due to disorganized usability, can be significantly improved. Researchers from North Carolina used a quality improvement approach to implement EHR best practices in three hospitals within a single health system in the southeastern United States.

Fundamental EHR changes included:

  • Revising documentation practices to document changes from the initial assessment using a dropdown menu
  • Removing the assessment type row
  • Adding a reassessment section to the first three flowsheet rows

Key Results

The redesign led to significant improvements in usability:

  • 18.5% reduction in overall documentation time
  • 7–12% decrease in time spent on flowsheets
  • 1.5 to 6.5 minutes saved per reassessment per patient
  • 88–97% reduction in documentation steps

This study shows that enhanced EHR usability allows healthcare providers to focus more on patient care, ultimately improving patient outcomes. When considering healthcare EHR companies, practices should consider those that prioritize EHR usability and have proven experience to back it up.


Inclusive design

The use of an EHR isn’t a one-size-fits-all experience. Different generations have distinct preferences and technological abilities. By understanding these generational nuances, you can select an EHR system that is truly user-friendly and accessible for your entire team, driving better efficiency and patient care.

Tap Into Our Expertise 

Unlock the full potential of your EHR for every member of your team! Collaborate with 1st Providers Choice, the trusted EHR partner with over 40 years of experience. Our proven track record, including an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, has helped many practices enhance their EHR usability and improve clinical workflows.

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Key Features to Look for in an EHR for Multi-Specialty Clinics

Thursday, May 30th, 2024
multi-specialty EHR

Imagine a patient struggling with sleep due to breathing issues, seeking a diagnosis that might require the expertise of both pulmonologists and sleep specialists. Multi-specialty clinics make this journey seamless, offering coordinated care under one roof.

The patient could start by seeing the pulmonologist, who records the symptoms and visit notes in their EHR. During the appointment, the pulmonologist might decide to refer the patient to a sleep medicine specialist and order a sleep study. The sleep specialist would have instant and direct access to the information gathered by the pulmonologist. This convenience is one of the biggest advantages of multi-specialty clinics.

However, even in these clinics, the process might not always be perfect because not all EHR systems are created equal. Some systems are better suited for multi-specialty practices, so it’s essential to find the multi-specialty EHR software that best aligns with your clinic’s needs. 

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Challenges in Managing Patient Data in Multi-Specialty Clinics

Each specialty generates detailed patient records, so managing this large volume of data is crucial while ensuring accuracy and accessibility. An EHR system can help effectively consolidate test results, treatment plans, and follow-up notes from multiple specialties.

Also, different specialties use specific terminologies, coding systems, and clinical protocols. Harmonizing these within a single multi-specialty EHR system requires advanced customization to ensure that each specialty can operate efficiently without compromising the usability of the shared records.

Need for Coordinated Care

Patients often require coordinated care plans involving multiple specialties. For example, a patient with a chronic respiratory condition might need care from a pulmonologist, a sleep specialist, and a physical therapist. Your EHR system should be able to facilitate seamless integration of these care plans to avoid conflicting treatments and ensure comprehensive care.

Lastly, efficient scheduling is essential to manage appointments across various specialties without overlaps or excessive wait times. The EHR software should offer advanced scheduling tools that coordinate appointments based on specialists’ availability.

Essential Features of Multi-Specialty EHRs

Electronic health records and electronic medical records (EMRs) provide numerous benefits to clinics. However, for multi-specialty clinics where coordinated patient care is a focal point, specialists rave for a slightly different set of multi-specialty EMR software features.    

Case management should be a top feature on your checklist. Clinics use this tool to efficiently track and manage patient care across multiple specialties. With case management, you can maintain a detailed log of all patient visits across various specialties, including the date and time, the specialty consulted, the clinician involved, and the purpose of the visit.

Each visit is summarized within the EHR, providing a snapshot of the patient’s condition, diagnosis, and treatment during that visit. This ensures that all relevant patient information is easily accessible for future reference.

Many Specialties, More Features

While we already discussed the amazing benefits that a proper case management module could provide, that’s far from the only feature that you should be on the lookout for in your multi-specialty EMR software:

1. Clinical Documentation

EMR and EHR systems facilitate communication and continuity of care by storing detailed patient information, including medical histories, test results, treatment plans, and ongoing care notes from various specialties. 

2. Patient Registration and Scheduling

When patients visit the clinic first, their personal information, insurance, and medical history are entered into the system. The EMR system allows staff to schedule, reschedule, and manage appointments across multiple specialties, ensuring no conflicts.

3. Interoperability 

EHRs in multi-specialty clinics are often interoperable with other healthcare systems and laboratories, allowing seamless sharing of diagnostic results, referrals, and medical records critical for making informed decisions during consultations and treatments.

4. Specialty-Specific Templates

EHR systems offer specialty-specific templates and tools to streamline clinic documentation. For example, physical therapists use tools to document rehabilitation progress, speech therapists have templates for speech and language assessments, and occupational therapists utilize templates for daily living skills evaluations.

6. Analytics and Reporting

An EHR software provides powerful analytics tools to analyze patient data, which is valuable for improving patient care, managing resources, and meeting regulatory requirements. This platform also generates reports required for compliance with healthcare regulations, such as Meaningful Use and MACRA.

7. Billing and Claims Management

A built-in multi-specialty billing software allows EHRs to streamline billing processes by combining the specialties’ billing and coding systems. This feature ensures accurate coding for diverse services provided across specialties and efficient claims management.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid When Choosing an EHR

EHR for clinics

As a multi-specialty clinic, you can choose an EHR system that enhances efficiency and improves patient care if you know the common pitfalls of EHR selection and take proactive steps to address them. 

1. Overlooking Customization

It’s important to be cautious of healthcare documentation systems that adopt a one-size-fits-all approach. An EHR system that you can’t tailor to accommodate your specialties’ unique workflows and requirements can potentially hinder efficiency.

2. Ignoring User Feedback 

An EHR system that is not user-friendly can lead to frustration and decreased productivity among clinicians and staff. Prioritize systems with intuitive interfaces and workflows. Consider feedback from clinicians and administrative staff to check if the platform aligns with your daily needs and challenges.

3. Failing to Plan for Implementation

A poorly managed implementation process can disrupt clinic operations and lead to significant downtime. Develop a complete implementation plan that includes timelines, responsibilities, and contingency plans. Ensure the EHR vendor provides robust support during and after implementation.

Benefits of Investing in a High-Quality EHR System

Investing in a high-quality EHR system offers multi-specialty clinics significant returns on investment through:

Improved Billing: Seamless integration with billing systems minimizes administrative overhead and reduces the time spent on billing-related tasks, allowing staff to focus on patient care.

Streamlined Workflows: Efficient sharing of patient information among different specialties improves coordination and reduces delays.

Cost Savings: An EHR system provides a comprehensive view of patient history and previous tests, helping avoid redundant tests and procedures and reducing unnecessary expenses.

Enhanced Data Management: A centralized electronic system ensures that all patient data is easily accessible to authorized personnel, improving information accuracy and reducing the risk of data loss.

Better Health Outcomes: EHR systems can track and flag critical health metrics, enabling providers to intervene early and manage chronic conditions more effectively.


EHR systems for clinics

A robust EHR system unifies clinical, administrative, and financial operations. Multi-specialty clinics that invest in these integrated platforms benefit from enhanced care coordination, which ensures long-term success and paves the way for delivering exceptional patient care.

Tap Into Our Expertise

Ready to streamline your multi-specialty clinic’s operations? 1st Providers Choice offers customized EMR systems with built-in templates for over 30 specialties, advanced scheduling tools, and comprehensive practice management. 

For over 40 years, we’ve been the trusted partner for multi-specialty clinics looking to improve efficiency and patient care. Contact us for a free quote or schedule a demo to see our system in action. 

EHR Usability: Why It Matters for Providers and Patients

Friday, July 14th, 2023
ehr usability

Electronic health record (EHR) systems have become increasingly prevalent in modern medical practice. However, despite its rapid evolution from a mere electronic data storage system to an advanced, comprehensive platform, poor EHR usability remains a significant drawback that keeps providers from fully embracing EHR technology.

Poor system design and usability in healthcare can compromise patient safety and disrupt provider workflows. Studies suggest that the three leading factors affecting EHR usability, such as low-value alerts, documentation burdens, and a cluttered interface, lead to physician burnout.

Despite the positive and negative effects of EHRs in healthcare, research shows that higher physician EHR usability translates to better patient care and lower negative outcomes.

In this blog we will define what EHR usability is and explain why it’s vital for you and your patients.

What is EHR usability?

EHR usability refers to how easy the system is for clinicians and nurses to use and how satisfied they are with its performance. The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) defines EHR usability based on three aspects:

  • Performance effectiveness, or the ability to accomplish a task
  • Achieving the desired result with the least amount of effort, expense, and time
  • Satisfaction among users

Basically, a system with good EHR usability is easy to use and gets the job done. It’s intuitive and empowers you to complete tasks quickly and efficiently without much mental effort.

Are there any factors that contribute to EHR usability?

In its report, HIMSS emphasized usability as an outcome of technology navigation, EHR screen design, and user interface. You can apply these nine principles of software usability in evaluating EMR systems:

  • Simplicity: The important information is easy to notice, and the functions are easy to understand.
  • Naturalness: The application feels intuitive and easy to learn. You will feel safe while using it.
  • Consistency: All application parts have the same look and feel, with elements placed consistently on the screen.
  • Forgiveness and Feedback: If you make a mistake, the application helps you avoid it or allows you to recover gracefully from errors.
  • Effective Use of Language: The language used across the system sounds natural and easy to comprehend.
  • Efficient Interactions: The application offers shortcuts and navigation options for frequent or experienced users.
  • Effective Information Presentation: Colors can convey meaning, such as using red to indicate a medical emergency.
  • Preservation of Context: The user interface has minimal changes and interruptions on the screen while you’re doing a specific task.
  • Minimize Cognitive Load: The system automatically performs calculations for you, so you don’t have to do them manually.

3 Major Benefits of EHR Usability

An advanced, modern EHR system enables you to deliver quality patient care and ensures smooth daily operations. Investing in EHR systems with intuitive interface design can go a long way if you wish to improve patient outcomes and streamline your workflows.

Let’s explore the three major benefits of EHR usability:

1. Higher EHR Adoption Rates

EHRs with high usability scores are easy to use and intuitive to manage, and their adoption usually goes smoothly, so more clinicians are likely to use them.

2. Avoid Errors 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) receives approximately 100,000 reports about medication errors yearly. With an intuitive EHR, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of preventable mistakes like medication errors. 

3. Reduced Costs 

Sophisticated EHR systems with a user-friendly interface eliminate manual processes, reducing overhead costs and other staffing-related expenses.

How EHR Usability Improves Provider Workflow & Prevents Burnout

As a tool you interact with daily, it only makes sense to put a heavy premium on EHR usability. Choose a clunky system, and you could open the floodgates of inefficiencies, exposing your team to greater risks of burnout. Using an EHR with an intuitive user interface can streamline your practice and elevate your team’s well-being!

Here’s how high EHR usability improves provider workflow and lowers the risks of physician burnout:

Enhances Efficiency & Workflow

You need efficient access to patient information through streamlined navigation and intuitive interfaces in EHR systems. Moreover, these user-friendly interfaces feature a clear and intuitive layout, making navigating different screens and modules easy.

With an easy-to-use interface, you can quickly retrieve vital patient information, such as medical histories, laboratory results, and medication lists. Your daily workflows will benefit significantly from seamless access to information, freeing you from the hassle.

Accelerates & Streamlines Documentation

Sophisticated, user-friendly EHRs provide customizable templates and automated documentation tools to speed up charting. It allows you to create custom templates that cater to your practice requirements and eliminates repetitive data entry tasks, helping you save valuable time during patient visits. 

Improves Care Coordination

Lastly, integrating EHRs with ancillary systems, such as laboratories and pharmacies, facilitates real-time information exchange, enabling quicker decisions and improving care coordination. It enables healthcare providers to make prompt and informed decisions regarding patient diagnoses and treatments based on laboratory results. Moreover, providers can also transmit prescriptions electronically to pharmacies ensuring accurate and efficient medication management.

How Does EHR Improve Patient Safety?

There is a direct correlation between EHRs and patient safety. The integration of portals and scheduling systems reduces the wait time for patients. Furthermore, EHRs enhance providers’ access to crucial information on a patient’s health history, including allergies, lifestyle risk factors, drug indications, past surgical events, lab test results, and any other information necessary to make an accurate and reliable diagnosis. Emergency departments, in particular, use EHRs to support clinical decisions for patient treatments.

In addition, EHR systems can also recommend treatments and drugs based on their latest research to reduce errors in clinical care. A physician can use it to prescribe the proper medication for a patient with life-threatening allergies or to look up the patient’s complete medical history in an emergency room if the patient is unresponsive.

Importance of EHR Usability Testing

With EHR usability testing, you can understand how customers interact with your website and make adjustments accordingly. Make your app or website easy to use and navigate; otherwise, users might leave and go to another competitor’s website. 

In this test, you gather data about a website or app’s usability so you can improve its design. Using usability tests can benefit designers and developers alike, as it indicates trouble spots and areas where users get stuck.

Choose the Top EMR/EHR Software 

EHR usability is vital to healthcare providers and patients alike. It’s why most providers report high efficiency and effectiveness in healthcare delivery. It also plays a crucial role in patient safety, especially in reducing medication errors, missed diagnoses, and other adverse outcomes.

With those reasons in mind, it is apparent that EHR usability is crucial for improving the quality of modern healthcare.

Over the years, we have assisted podiatrists with EHR/EMR selection, implementation, and software usage. If you want to improve your EHR system, our customizable EMR/EHR software can meet your office 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!