At the recent HIT Policy Committee public hearing in Washington D.C., many speakers with experience in the field commented about electronic health record (EHR) vendors, implementation, and functionality. For those of you currently engaged in an EHR search process, plan to begin one soon, or are considering switching systems, the comments below from the public hearing should be considered:
- The impact on productivity was described by one physician as “death by a thousand clicks.”
- The impact of EHR on patient care was that clicking through screens, inputting data, and checking boxes took time away from the patient.
- “Vendor solutions are often awkward and time-consuming.” They may accomplish the meaningful use task, but they are not very usable themselves.
- “EHR implementations fail when they become IT projects instead of clinical projects involving technology.” The selection of an EHR should be workflow-based; the vendor must have a common-sense approach to workflow.
- EHR vendors are scrambling to keep up with the changing government demands for reporting functionality. This frequently results in misrepresentation of the software’s current abilities.
- There is deep concern that practices are rushing to install EHR systems to meet meaningful use, only to find out that the EHR doesn’t meet the needs of the practitioners—this will be very costly in the end.
These EHR experiences are from the frontline trenches of EHR adoptions and implementations. They rightfully instill a “look before you leap” mentality for physicians and medical practices undergoing an EHR implementation, EHR replacement, or planning an EHR selection process.
Don’t fall victim to an EHR implementation that will hinder your productivity and have a negative impact on patient care. Consider these 3 tips during your journey into the EHR field:
- Identify EHR systems that are usable and focus on your specialty’s workflow needs.
- The EHR vendors you are considering should have a proven understanding of your practice’s daily clinical operations and must meet the needs of your physicians.
- Be sure that the prospective EHR vendor solutions also have many viable references in your specialty, practice size, and patient volume.
By taking the necessary steps and performing the appropriate due diligence, your EHR selection process and EHR implementation will go smoothly…and your “experience from the field” will be much better than some of those who spoke at the HIT Policy Committee public hearing.