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101 Tips to Make Your EMR and EHR More Useful – EHR Tips 1-5

Posted on January 24, 2012 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.

Time for the next entry covering Shawn Riley’s list of 101 Tips to Make your EMR and EHR More Useful. I can’t believe that this is the last post in the series. I think it’s been a good series chalk full of good tips for those looking at implementing an EHR in their office. I’d love to hear what people thought and if they’d like me to do more series like this one. Now for the final 5 EMR tips.

5. Automatic trending helps all over the place – A picture is worth a thousand words and this is never more true than when we’re talking about trending. Make sure your EHR software can quickly take a set of results and/or data points and graph them over time.

4. Keep training over and over – Are you ever done learning software? The answer for those using an EMR is no. Part of this has to do with the vast volume of options that are available in EMR software. However, the training doesn’t necessarily have to come from formal training sessions. Much of the training can also come by facilitating interaction and discussion about how your users use the software. By talking to each other, they can often learn from their peers better ways to use the software.

3. Infrastructure is key to performance – I love when people say “My EMR is Slow” cause it’s such a general statement that could have so many possible meanings. Regardless of the cause of slowness, the EMR is going to get the blame. For those wanting to dig in to the EMR slowness issue, you can read my pretty comprehensive post about causes of EMR slowness. I think you’ll also enjoy some of the responses to that EMR slowness post.

Infrastructure really matters when someone is using an EMR all day every day. There’s no better way to kill someone’s desire to use an EMR than to have it be slow (regardless of who’s responsible).

2. Quit pulling charts as soon as possible – I think this tip should be done with some caution. In certain specialties the past chart history matters much more than in others. Although, it’s worth carefully considering how often you really look through the past paper chart in a visit. You might be surprised how rare it is that you really need the past paper chart. If that’s the case, consider only pulling the chart when it’s needed. If you only find yourself looking through the past paper chart for 2 or 3 key items, then just have someone get those 2 or 3 items put into the EMR ahead of time. Then, it will save you having to switch back and forth. Plus, then it’s there for the next time the patient visits.

1. Crap process + Technology = Fast Crap – Perfect way to end 101 EMR and EHR Tips! I like to describe technology as the great magnifier. The challenge is that it will magnify both the good and bad elements of your processes. Fix the process before you apply the technology.

If you want to see my analysis of the other 101 EMR and EHR tips, you can find them all at the following link: 101 EMR and EHR tips analysis.

101 Tips to Make Your EMR and EHR More Useful – EHR Tips 76-80

Posted on August 4, 2011 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.

Time for the second entry covering Shawn Riley’s list of 101 Tips to Make your EMR and EHR More Useful. I hope you’re enjoying the series.

80. Make certain the leader of your project’s support team is a physician
I’d say this is true in about 98% of the cases. In some very rare cases, you might be able to get away with a strong practice manager as the leader of the project. However, in most cases you’re going to need a physician driving the bus. This physician leader is going to be the person who helps you get buy-in for the EMR project. Without this buy-in, your EMR project is on very shaky ground.

79. Evaluate the Process FIRST!
One of my favorite comments about technology is that it exacerbates any current issues. It’s like taking a magnify glass on any process issues you may have and makes them into really big problems. So you definitely want to take care of any bad processes before you do your EMR implementation.

78. Make certain reporting is easy and flexible.
Reports are becoming more and more important. Meaningful use is basically one big report (and some process changes I guess). Medicaid and other insurance companies need reports and their demand for information is just going to increase over time. Plus, you EHR’s reports can be the key to you running a successful medical practice. They can point out areas that you can improve your practice. Make sure they have strong reporting capabilities that don’t require a special consultant or phone call to support to run every time.

77. Find out which Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems integrate to the EMR.
This tip is more for hospital systems. Most ambulatory EHR systems do a pretty good job of document management. Plus, if they don’t most ambulatory clinics couldn’t pay for an ECM anyway. Either way, you need to take into account how you’re going to manage all the paper documents you still get and likely scan into your systems.

76. Do site visits
The benefits of a site visit have been mentioned at least a half dozen times already in this series of 101 tips and we’re only a quarter of the way through. That should be reason enough to do site visits. Site visits provide the first hand knowledge of how an EHR is used in a real practice. Plus, it lets you ask questions from someone who’s been through the EHR process. This connection can really pay off later if you go with that EHR vendor, because they can be a reference for when you have practical questions about your EHR as well.

If you want to see my analysis of the other 101 EMR and EHR tips, I’ll be updating this page with my 101 EMR and EHR tips analysis. So, click on that link to see the other EMR tips.