Free EMR Newsletter Want to receive the latest news on EMR, Meaningful Use, ARRA and Healthcare IT sent straight to your email? Join thousands of healthcare pros who subscribe to EMR and EHR for FREE!

The Value of Collaborating with Customers in EMR Optimization

Posted on September 27, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

One of the biggest challenges I see in healthcare IT is that the knowledge on how to get value out of EHR and other health IT is not evenly distributed. One healthcare organization that figures out how to optimize their EHR system for maximum benefit doesn’t have the opportunity to share that knowledge with other organizations across the country. Plus, even an organization that has optimized their EHR solution in one specific area is still missing optimization benefits in other areas.

Sharing optimization best practices is a massive problem that needs to be solved if we’re going to finally optimize EHR and other health IT systems to benefit both healthcare organizations and patients.

While some healthcare organizations are competitive and don’t want to share best practices, I’ve found that most hospitals and health systems are happy to share their EHR and health IT practices with their peers across the country. Healthcare is so regional and most people doing the optimization work want to benefit patients regardless of other competitive pressures.

Why then don’t healthcare organizations share if in fact most of them want to share their insights and experiences? The challenge is that most professionals don’t see any easy way for them to collaborate and share with their colleagues.

I recently saw where Galen Healthcare Solutions took this problem head-on as they gathered together a focused group of MEDITECH users in a project they called Claire[IT]. Check out this webinar on Claire[IT] to learn more about how Galen Healthcare Solutions involved their users to create enginu[IT]y.

Out of this user focus group they produced a package of MEDITECH rules and best practices which could be implemented by any MEDITECH user. What makes this package special is that it wasn’t just one person’s best thinking but Galen brought together a wide variety of end users to each contribute their best practices and insights into the MEDITECH rules they created. I love that one participant in the user focus group said “I am the only one in my organization that loves MEDITECH rules. It was great to finally be part of a group of other people as passionate as me about rules.”

This is the type of collaboration we need to see happening in healthcare IT and EHR for us to receive all the benefits technology can provide. Plus, now a company like Galen Healthcare Solutions can package up this knowledge and EMR optimization best practices and share it with all of the other MEDITECH users out there. This MEDITECH EHR rules knowledge doesn’t have to be confined to one organization.

The problem is that this type of focus group is really targeted and includes a lot of minutiae that only those that are deep in these systems will appreciate. These aren’t conversations that casually happen at an event like HIMSS. However, when you put the right EHR users together it’s like magic and the sharing and collaboration happens naturally. I love that Galen Healthcare Solutions called their webinar “Operation #NerdyWork.” Talking over MEDITECH rules really is #NerdyWork, but it’s also essential work if you want to truly get the most out of your MEDITECH EHR. The same is true for all the other EHR vendors. There’s a lot of #NerdyWork required to optimize them.

Props to Galen Healthcare Solutions for showing us one way EMR end users can collaborate together to share best practices and provide everyone with a better solution than if they’d done the EMR optimization alone. Now we just need to scale up this collaboration and sharing so that every EMR in every healthcare organization is working in the most optimized way possible.

Note: Galen Healthcare Solutions is a sponsor of Healthcare Scene and the EMR Clinical Optimization Series of blog posts.

EHR Requires You to Reconsider Your Workflow

Posted on November 19, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Despite many EHR vendors best efforts to tell you otherwise, an EHR requires every organization to reconsider their workflow. Sure, many of them can be customized to match your unique clinical needs, but the reality is that implementing an EHR requires change. All of us resist change to different degrees, but I have yet to see an EHR implementation that didn’t require change.

What many people don’t like to admit is that sometimes change can be great. As humans, we seem to focus too much on the down side to change and have a hard time recognizing when things are better too. A change in workflow in your office thanks to an EHR might be the best thing that can happen to you and your organization.

One problem I’ve seen with many EHRs is that they do a one off EHR implementation and then stop there. While the EHR implementation is an important one time event, a quality EHR implementation requires you to reconsider your workflow and how you use your EHR on an ongoing basis. Sometimes this means implementing new features that came through an upgrade to an EHR. Other times, your organization is just in a new place where it’s ready to accept a change that it wasn’t ready to accept before. This ongoing evaluation of your current EHR processes and workflow will provide an opportunity for your organization to see what they can do better. We’re all so busy, it’s amazing how valuable sitting down and talking about improvement can be.

I recently was talking with someone who’d been the EHR expert for her organization. However, her organization had just decided to switch EHR software vendors. Before the switch, she was regularly visited by her colleagues to ask her questions about the EHR software. With the new EHR, she wasn’t getting those calls anymore (might say something good about the new EHR or bad about the old EHR). She then confided in me that she was a little concerned about what this would mean for her career. She’d kind of moved up in the organization on the back of her EHR expertise and now she was afraid she wouldn’t be needed in that capacity.

While this was a somewhat unique position, I assured her that there would still be plenty of need for her, but that she’d have to approach it in a little different manner. Instead of being the EHR configuration guru, she should becoming the EHR optimization guru. This would mean that instead of fighting fires, her new task would be to understand the various EHR updates that came out and then communicate how those updates were going to impact the organization.

Last night I had dinner with an EHR vendor who told me that they thought that users generally only used about 50% of the features of their EHR. That other 50% of EHR features presents an opportunity for every organization to get more value out of their EHR software. Whether you tap into these and newly added EHR features through regular EHR workflow assessments, an in house EHR expert who’s constantly evaluating things, or hiring an outside EHR consultant, every organization needs to find a way to regularly evaluate and optimize their EHR workflow.

EHR: What’s Next?

Posted on September 19, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I realize this is a simple concept with a million answers. In fact, that’s why I’m posting about it and hopefully starting a rich discussion. A huge portion of the healthcare system has adopted EHR software. I now ask the question:

What’s Next?

I know that some of you reading this will reply meaningful use. Ok. We get that. We know what meaningful use requires. Let’s get beyond meaningful use and talk about what you’re doing with your EHR.

I’m really starting this as a conversation starter. Hopefully you can break it down into two areas:

1. What are you doing with your EHR to optimize your use of your EHR?

2. Now that you have an EHR, what are you going to do next? What are you working on next?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and answers. Hopefully we’ll get a broad cross section of responses from small practices, hospitals, vendors, etc. I’ll join in the comments as well.