One of the top provider complaints about using their EHR systems is that they need to spend too much time studying a consumer screen during a patient visit. Patients want to feel heard and cared for, but when their physician is spending all of his or her time fiddling with their EHR system, they don’t.
We know that when providers spend more time with patients it leads to better patient engagement, and better patient engagement leads to better patient outcomes. So, what can providers do to spend more time engaging with their patients and less time engaging with their EHRs?
- Preferred workflow: Every provider has a preset charting pattern based on their specialty or a patient’s health condition. When the provider generates a preferred workflow with preset values and action items, that saves time charting—time that can be used to engage with the patient.
- Machine learning: Machine learning has been a huge boon to customers of EHRs that provide it. It enables EHRs to suggest a preferred workflow based on past data. This can save time and increase patient safety by proactively catching potential errors.
- Clinical decision support (CDS): Many EHRs integrate a CDS system. CDS systems offer a number of benefits, such as alerts, clinical guidelines, order sets, templates and other time savers.
- The delegation of tasks: Providers shouldn’t feel the need to do everything themselves. They can assign a charting task to a physician assistant or a nurse. That way, the provider can focus on the patient: discussing their symptoms, examining them, taking their history and working up a treatment plan. Information can be captured and documented by the clinical staff.
- Get a quick preview of patient health: While capturing clinical data and making decisions about medication, providers need to take into account many other data points from the patient’s chart. If a snapshot of all of this information is available in one place, it will save time as the provider is able to review, document and make decisions faster.
- Preferred order sets: Providers can create preferred order sets for similar diagnoses or common seasonal conditions. These sets provide a template that can capture commonly used medications, lab orders and diagnostic studies all at once. The best part is, providers can use the preferred order sets with no or minimum changes, which will lead to charting faster.
- Experience counts: The more the EHR system is used, the more proficient the provider will become. We recommend digging in as often and as possible (perhaps not while a patient is in is being examined, though). It will aid in understanding and utilizing the workflow more effectively, allowing the provider to chart faster.