Chapter 35 – Mastering Your Agency’s EMR

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We’ll discuss lessons learned from hundreds of EMR implementations and the benefits and drawbacks of mastering a new system. In particular, we’ll discuss how local user cultures affect implementation, the need for better training, and the importance of knowing why. To help you understand the benefits of an EMR, we’ll also discuss why learning two systems is like learning two languages. Hopefully, these tips will make mastering an EMR an easy process such as Data Soft Logic, Axxess, or Wellsky, among others.

Learning Your Agency’s Electronic Medical Chart

One of the most frustrating aspects of maintaining a paper medical chart is the time it takes to file and sort data. This practice scatters data across multiple notes, making it hard for readers to find relevant information or piece together a patient’s complex medical history. A more organized system would eliminate the need for multiple employees to file and sort information. This system would also improve continuity of care, as multiple health care workers could work from the same patient record at the same time.

An EMR includes data such as a patient’s medical history, including immunizations, acute and chronic disease, test results, and treatment history. It can be a convenient tool for health care providers and patients alike, and will make the medical record more accessible to everyone. The ease of accessing the data from an EMR is another major benefit. As technology improves, more health care organizations are embracing this system.

Importance of Training

One of the most important aspects of using an EMR is the training of staff. The benefits will not be realized unless staff members use the system optimally. Therefore, continued education for your medical staff will help ensure your EMR is a success.

The training for all staff members is crucial. The training sessions should be conducted on a regular basis to ensure that everyone understands the system’s functions and how it can benefit them. The benefits are far-reaching.

Navigating the Patient chart

The use of an electronic medical record or EMR is becoming more prevalent in health care organizations. These software solutions allow for greater efficiency in documenting patient information, reduce errors, and free physicians to focus on the needs of patients. Pen and paper charting has begun to fade out, as medical charting systems document patient information more efficiently and improve daily traffic and revenue opportunities. This guide outlines the benefits of EMRs.

The EMR allows for faster documentation, which benefits patients in need of rapid treatment. For instance, an EKG can be uploaded to the record in real-time and retrieved by the specialist within minutes. However, the mechanical nature of electronic charting may lead to oversight of clinical findings. For example, assessment documentation shortcuts might default to “normal” findings that a provider must adjust based on the examination. The result is often false documentation, as the provider is forced to document the same things multiple times without changing them.

Patient charts should include the following information: demographics, medical history, allergies, and medications. Additionally, physicians should include family medical histories, immunization records, and developmental and reproductive histories. They should list prescriptions and explain the results. They should also include the number of times a patient should take each medication. Finally, clinicians should include the date of immunizations. These records should be easy to access and maintain for future reference.

Lessons learned from hundreds of EMR implementations

In our experience, EHR implementations are rarely an overnight project. First and foremost, it’s important to develop a strong vendor relationship. Your vendor will be essential in providing ongoing support and guidance throughout the rollout. Next, planning thoroughly is essential. Delegating tasks to key team members and creating clear timelines can save valuable time and ensure accountability across the collaborative team. Reference site visits can help you gain an expanded perspective on the EHR implementation process and reduce the number of forms and processes required.

When selecting an EHR vendor, be sure to consider the capabilities and features they offer. A good EHR should be flexible and expand your clinical staff’s ability to interact with the live chart. Customize alerts and notifications, including those that indicate missing documentation. Lastly, make sure to involve staff at all levels in the process. Ultimately, a successful EHR implementation will improve the patient experience and ensure high levels of satisfaction.

There are many challenges during the implementation of an EHR. First, there is competing priorities for the project. Key stakeholders must give priority to the HIE. Second, teams had to find a solution to incompatible EHR versions, so they had to develop workarounds. Third, teams had to gain the commitment of the implementation site. These challenges were overcome with strong leadership.

Importance of more training sessions for EMR users

While many agencies are already aware of the importance of training staff, nurses, and doctors on how to use the new EMR system, others are putting off the implementation process. EMR systems are complex systems, so choosing the right one for your agency is vital. Make sure the system will integrate with other software solutions at your agency, meet all regulatory requirements, and be customizable to your agency’s needs. Listed below are three reasons why more training sessions for EMR users in your agency are necessary.

More training sessions for EMR users will give users the skills necessary to operate the system effectively and understand how it works. Many EMR systems are complex, and a lack of training sessions can make them difficult for users to master. The key to ensuring a smooth implementation is to ensure training sessions continue even after the EMR system has been installed. Further, consider whether your organization’s training sessions will address any post-implementation issues. This is especially if new hires come into the picture as they will be most unfamiliar with the EMR system previously installed.

Training is an essential part of EMR implementation. A successful EMR implementation requires communication, a comprehensive plan, and the support of the entire agency. New software can disrupt agency habits and culture. It’s important to engage relevant departments early in the implementation process. Ideally, the more departments are involved, the better. But this is not always possible. A good strategy is to hold a workshop or series of training sessions for everyone involved in the implementation process.

After your EMR implementation, you must consider the training needs of your staff. Do your evaluation of EMR training packages and decide which type will work best for your agency. Alternatively, you can have both user-based training and automated training. Generally, automated training is a mix of prerecorded videos and help systems. The important thing is to assess the skills of staff, nurses, and doctors before investing in training sessions.

Importance of know-why

Knowing the “why” of your agency’s EMR is critical for success. Without the know-why, it is difficult to implement a new technology. Moreover, it is difficult to sustain adoption, as users are often locked into habitual behavior and organizational inertia. Consequently, it is crucial to provide training sessions that emphasize know-why-related to clinical work. In addition, these training sessions should focus on the benefits of the EMR in everyday clinical practice.

The “why” of an EMR can be explained in a variety of ways. For example, the initial motivation for implementing an EMR was not clinically grounded. This lack of knowledge may be caused by the fact that the targeted users relied heavily on vendors to provide information and perform hands-on tasks during the implementation phase. This lack of clinical know-why may be generalized across various IT innovations, including EMRs. Further, the vendors’ knowledge of the software may not translate to a clear understanding of what it actually does.

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