6 Ways to Optimize Your EHR

Tag Archives: EHR Implementation

6 Ways to Optimize Your EHR

optimize for EHR success with your EHR vendor

Whether you are moving from paper, a hybrid system or an existing EHR, now is the time to think about how to optimize your EHR. It’s not an easy task. It has a lot of moving parts. But, putting this effort in before you search for an EHR vendor and implement a system is key to your success.

1. Make it a Collaborative Effort

EHR optimization is a collaborative effort. All of your key stakeholders should be involved. This includes personnel from billing, program management, practice administration and clinical. However, don’t forget to include your EHR vendor in this list. They will help you work through this process and help provide insight and best practices.

2. Re-imagine your Operations

Begin by re-imagining your day-to-day operations with technology in mind. For instance, if you used to pull and file charts, how would you do that differently with electronic files? What are your patient-centric activities? Then, think about how these activities can be streamlined so you can provide more effective patient care. This is where you begin developing your workflows. Believe it or not, your EHR can be optimized to follow your organization’s processes.

3. Go beyond the Basics with Documentation

Go beyond the basics. What works and what doesn’t work for your organization? What information do you need for every client? Are there things that can be templatized to make your process more streamlined? Do you need check boxes or free text? Also, think about how your current documentation processes can be improved and work those changes into how your EHR functions.

4. Really Think about your EHR Workflow

Just because you’ve always done it a certain way doesn’t mean you should continue with it. People moving from paper often try to recreate their workflow in their EHR. But, if you are trying to leverage the value of an electronic system, you should consider how your organization can capitalize on that functionality. Think about the possibilities of how your clinic can function now that information is available for any authorized staff member.

5. Keep your Eye on the Bottomline

Cash flow and revenue cycle management can be a real business issue. Create goals or benchmarks for your key financial performance metrics, and use your integrated EHR system to monitor critical reports on a regular basis. In addition, you can share results with the entire team around daily collections, insurance claims outstanding, and your insurance Aging Report. When practice management, electronic health records and billing systems are integrated, you will see a direct impact on your revenue. You’ll begin seeing increase cash collections, a decrease in aging and better reporting for earning government funding.

6. Personalize. Configure. Customize.

Think about how your solution can be tailored for your organization. For example, how can your EHR be personalized for your users so they only see the information that’s relevant to their role? Similarly, how can it be configured with your programs, templates and forms? And, as often is necessary, how can your EHR be customized to meet your unique needs?

As you’re on your journey to implement an EHR that is optimized for your organization, ensure you select a vendor that will truly be a partner for you. One who will help you implement best practices for clinical workflows that meet the needs of your care setting. Optimizing your EHR will help you improve quality of care while also improving your team’s productivity. It’s a win-win.

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Avoiding Analysis Paralysis When Selecting an EHR

too many choices

Think back to the grocery shopping experience of our childhood. The cereals were a “section” – not an entire aisle.  We chose between Cheerios[i] and Wheaties[ii]. Or. if Mom was in a splurge mood and it was our lucky day, Captain Crunch[iii] or (you guessed it) Lucky Charms[iv].

But can you guess how many kinds of Cheerios there are now?

Fasten your seat belt:  EIGHTEEN!

I’m all for the free market, but that is too many choices of Cheerios. It makes my head spin.

Many public health and behavioral healthcare agencies who survey the vendor choice “aisle” in the electronic health record (EHR) supermarket find their heads spinning, too. How can one not, when lists like “Top 100 EHR Companies” actually exist?

Wikipedia defines this phenomenon as “Overchoice” (first introduced by Alvin Toffler in the 1970 book Future Shock). Overchoice is “a cognitive process in which people have a difficult time making a decision when faces with many options.”

Psychologists are discovering that our demand as a society for our freedom of choice is having detrimental effects on our wellbeing.  From anxiety to depression, from stress to total paralysis  – yes “analysis paralysis” – having too many options seems to create more complications than solutions.

Rachel Gillett, the careers editor at Business Insider, discusses the phenomenon and states:

“When there are lots of alternatives to consider, it’s easy to imagine the attractive features of the alternatives you reject.”

As the electronic health record market expands with more vendors dotting the landscape, an initial survey of EHR-land can leave one’s head spinning when trying to narrow down to two or three platforms for consideration.  To prevent analysis paralysis from over-choice, learn more about simplifying the EHR selection process by checking out a few of these resources (Don’t worry, I won’t give you too many choices!)

For simplifying the EHR selection process, start HERE.

Or, for a presentation on Best Practices of EHR selection and implementation, go HERE for a step-by-step EHR selection guide created by the folks at Cleveland County (NC).

 

Life can be simple again.  Don’t let the choices get you down!
[i] Cheerios is a registered trademark of the General Mills Corporation.
[ii] Wheaties is a registered trade mark of the General Mills Corporation.
[iii] Captain Crunch is a registered trademark of The Quaker Oats Company.
[iv] Lucky Charms is a registered trade mark of the General Mills Corporation.

Having the Right Tool at the Right Time

EHR Toolkit for Planning and Procurement

In our last blog, we encouraged agencies who were beginning the process of implementing an electronic health record (EHR) system  to “Find Your Driver”:  to identify the one key person in your system who believes in the idea of what an EHR platform could do, believes in the people providing support behind the system – and who also believes in the people the EHR is created to serve – both co-workers and clients.

Once you’ve located such an EHR Super Hero, before you put him or her behind the wheel, it’s of utmost importance to provide that driver with a fully outfitted garage, complete with all the tools necessary to fine-tune the engine of your selected EHR – and mechanics who are both skilled and accessible.

Several checklists and EHR toolkits exist which can be of supreme benefit to assisting the driver of your EHR implementation in getting “up to speed.”

In it, your driver will find:

  • An introductory video explaining the contents of the EHR toolkit.
  • Tools, including a checklist for considering the sources which could be tapped for providing fuel (financing) for your EHR.
  • A template for the phases of transition:
    • Pre-Solicitation and Preparation
    • Vendor Solicitation
    • Vendor Evaluation and Selection
    • Vendor Relationship Management
  • Another great tool and resource is this slideshow which promotes the “20 Best Practices of top Chief Digital Officers”. And while the person who has been chosen to drive (“cheerlead”, “champion” – whatever your go-to description is) may not necessarily be considered a “digital officer”, he or she will be sitting in the driver’s seat of a very “digital” vehicle – – one driven by “digits” – -your fingertips and their input via a computer keyboard.
  • Another critical checklist addresses the “12 Top Challenges in Making an IT Transition” and can assist in thinking ahead to avoid speed bumps, oil slicks, and pot holes for your driver and the EHR vehicle.
  • Finally, equip your driver with the encouragement of those who have already been around the track a time or two. Access the motivation and confirmation of agencies who have successfully utilized all the right tools at the right time and who care to share their stories.  Testimonials are the best teachers of Tool Time.