3 Ways to rebound efficiency after EHR implementation
The promise of implementing an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system to make healthcare cheaper and more efficient has eluded most practices. A quick Google search on the term “EMR or EHR issues” will reveal a myriad of problems associated with doctors and clinicians using EHR systems. In fact, EHR adoption and usage is partially to blame for an uptick in physician burnout.
OSU Wexner Medical Center’s Donald Mack MD suggested that EHR usage along with value based care has augmented physician burnout. In a response to a recent study Dr. Mack stated, “[Physician]Burnout is associated with lower patient satisfaction and care quality, higher medical error rates and malpractice risk, higher physician and staff turnover, physician substance abuse/addiction, and physician suicide.”
Not at all what was sold to physicians.
Although physicians may feel that they work more for their practice administrator than their patients, implementing and using an EHR effects the entire practice’s efficiency, from scheduling to checkout to patient care to employee satisfaction. The same promise of a “Global medical record” was made to consumers who now end up filling out new patient paperwork at home and then end up doing it again in the waiting room, at which point a staff member enters it again into a system. For consumers this happens with every new provider they see.
Although it’s difficult to compare apples to apples when discussing the old way of doing things vs electronic ways, one thing is for sure there is a definite need for improving the latter.
1. Sharing data between systems
Where we focus a large part of efforts for clients is connecting disparate systems. Industry terminology calls it “System Integration“. In other words, we connect computer systems and software with our telltaleo™ platform so that data can be passed back and forth and shared between two or more systems. This reduces hours of duplicate entry and the possibility of human input error.
Many practices have a marketing team who do field/referral marketing or a call center that speaks directly with prospective patients. These job functions typically do not have access to clinical systems. In situations such as this a practice may have a customer relationship management system (CRM), such as Salesforce, Infusionsoft or ZOHO (or use email or excel) where they keep track of and manage their referral sources, prospects & tasks. Additionally, analytical data from the web, clinical PACS & Lab systems oftentimes lives on its own in stand alone systems, spreadsheets and/or emails.
Office staff end up entering patient information into multiple systems:
- CRM, Email or Excel (even on post-it notes)
- Benefits verification portal (VOB) such as Availity
- Into a schedule, hopefully in a practice management or EHR system
- Into a PACS in the case of digital imaging
- Telemedicine systems
- Patient portals
- Into a testing lab systems
I’m sure there are more systems that I missed, but this should give you a sense of the amount of duplicate data entry that takes place on a daily basis. You can see how connecting a few of these systems together could save hours of time each day on data entry and reduce the human error factor (not to mention data integrity issues).
Adding up system inefficiencies
As a conservative estimate, if your practice saw 100 new patients each month and spent 15 extra minutes per patient entering the same data twice you’d be looking at 25 hours of time wasted every month on just data entry.
It doesn’t take long to figure out that those 25 extra hours would produce a much better return on investment if the time were used for seeing patients.