An EHR system is built to be inclusive of all the different aspects of an organization, including real-time, patient-centered records that can be accessed instantly and securely by authorized users. The adoption and integration of EHR is becoming ubiquitous, causing company leaders to look at their organizations from an electronic standpoint. EHR systems and their capabilities are still a point of debate with some believing they are a barrier, and others believe they are critical for the improvement of clinical workflow.
Despite the EHR debate and controversy between healthcare professionals, it is clear they are here to stay and they must be understood so users can leverage them to improve workflow and patient care. According to healthcare quality experts, improved clinical workflow and efficiency are key to boosting health information technology. A recent study also indicated that EHR adoption improves clinical workflow for nurses, helping them to offer better patient care.
When integrating EHR software, there are many factors that must be considered. It is important that leaders develop a detailed plan that includes the new technology being introduced. Key to ensuring a smooth transition, is the anticipation of any disruptions and having sufficient measures in place to mitigate these potential interruptions. Organizations must lay out clear processes, goals and objectives associated with the implementation of new technology. The idea is to enable better care coordination, whilst also delivering efficiency and high value care. With this in mind, the goals must align with better financial outcomes also.
A report carried out in 2015 found that a high number of CFOs working in the healthcare industry felt as though their input was not weighted enough when their organization implemented an EHR platform. All departments must be consulted and as the system is integrated, changes must be monitored closely. Similar to any new process being adopted in the workplace, new trends in the workflow will be identified due to the functionalities of the new technology over time.
Best Practices and Benefits
Being able to digitally and instantaneously access health records is an opportunity for doctors to be better prepared and provide optimal care to their patients. Patient engagement and the personal patient experience are critical parts of the care delivery equation. EHRs improve patient engagement by allowing them to be more proactive in their own healthcare.
Aligning patients with EHR integration is beneficial across the board in care coordination - eliminating burdens, not only on the patient, but also the care team whilst decreasing costs. By equipping both patient and healthcare professional with more information, care quality and coordination can be optimised.
Clinical documentation is a significant capability of EHR and in enhancing this function through EHR use, healthcare providers can improve the quality of care provided to patients and improve organization communication and efficiency. Ultimately this would lead to a better workflow.
It’s important to acknowledge that it does take time to find the exact EHR system fit for any given entity. Simply because a new technology is adopted, does not mean workflow will necessarily improve straight away. Through working with a new technology, organizations will be able to identify what works for them over time and build on that. By improving clinical workflow, they will be more aptly prepared for moving with the future of healthcare.