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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 11-15

Posted on December 13, 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 next entry covering Shawn Riley’s list of 101 Tips to Make your EMR and EHR More Useful. I met someone at a conference who commented that they liked this series of posts. I hope you’re all enjoying the series as well.

15 Avoid multiple sign-ins if possible.
One thing seems abundantly clear to me: healthcare IT will be a heterogeneous environment. This is particularly true in the hospital world. Even the biggest behemoth of an HIS can’t satisfy all of the healthcare IT requirements of a hospital. So, getting a great SSO (single sign on) solution will be really important and turns out to be a great thing for your users and your help desk.

14 Make sure security is solid, but not prohibitive.
One thing about healthcare security and HIPAA that’s often misunderstood is that it should protect patient’s information, but it should also not get in the way of a clinician doing what they legitimately need to accomplish. Many security policies go too far and make legitimate healthcare work too hard. This is a huge mistake.

13 PDSA – Use it! Plan – Do – Study – Act
In this one, Shawn talks about the idea of continuous improvement which is a really good one. I also think far too many companies get stuck in the planning and do far too little doing and acting. All four steps of the process are important and useful, but don’t over think it either.

12 LEAN
Lean isn’t about being cheap. Lean isn’t about providing substandard care. Lean is about spending where it matters most. It’s about focusing on what’s most important and creating value from the things you spend money on. I’d love to see more LEAN concepts used in healthcare.

11 Buy MORE printers
Yep! Printing increases dramatically with an EHR. Almost all those forms that you use to print in bulk will now be coming out of your printer. Also, just because somewhere is fully electronic doesn’t mean that they are paperless. Paperless is a mythical creature that will likely never be achieved in our lifetime. Make the printers accessible for your providers.

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.

101 Tips to Make Your EMR and EHR More Useful – EHR Tips 31-35

Posted on October 12, 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 next entry covering Shawn Riley’s list of 101 Tips to Make your EMR and EHR More Useful. I hope you’re enjoying the series.

35. CPOE is important, but every EMR will have it.
I think that the CPOE discussion hit a head for me when I saw the CPOE requirements that were baked into meaningful use. Then, I heard someone from the often lauded (appropriately so) IHC in Utah who said that IHC didn’t have CPOE and it would be hard for them to meet that benchmark. Ok, so I’m more of an ambulatory guy than I am hospital, but this surprised me. In the clinics I’ve helped with EHR, CPOE is one of the first things we implemented. No doubt that every EMR has CPOE capabilities.

34. Make sure adverse drug events reporting is comprehensive
Yes, not all drug to drug, drug to allergy, etc databases are created equal. Not to mention some EHR vendors haven’t actually implemented these features (although, MU is changing that). I’d really love for a doctor and an EMR company to go through and rate the various drug database companies. How comprehensive are they? How good can you integrate them into your EHR? etc etc etc.

33. Make certain drug interactions are easy to manage for the physician
I won’t go into all the details of alert fatigue in detail. Let’s just summarize it this way: You must find the balance between when to alert, what to alert, how to alert and how to ignore the alert. Plus, all of the opposites of when not to alert, what not to alert, and how to not ignore the alert.

32. Ensure integration to other products is possible
Is it possible that you could buy an EMR with no integration? Possibly, but I have yet to see it. At a bare minimum clinics are going to want to have integration with lab software and ePrescribing (pharmacies). That doesn’t include many of the other common interfaces such as integration with practice management systems, hospitals, radiology, etc. How well your EMR handles these integration situations can really impact the enjoyment of your EHR.

31. Ensure information sharing is easy
This tip could definitely be argued, but I believe we’re headed down the road of information sharing. It’s going to still take a while to get to the nirvana of information sharing, but we’ve started down the road and there’s no turning back. Kind of reminds me of Splash Mountain at Disneyland where the rabbit has a sign that says there’s no turning back now. My son didn’t like that sign so much and I’m sure many people won’t like that there’s no turning back on data sharing either. However, it’s going to happen.

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.