Free EMR Newsletter Want to receive the latest news on EMR, Meaningful Use, ARRA and Healthcare IT sent straight to your email? Join thousands of healthcare pros who subscribe to EMR and HIPAA for FREE!!

3 Alert Fatigue Suggestions

Posted on April 23, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Many of you will remember my previous post about Patient Alert Fatigue. Managing alert fatigue with patients, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals is a really important subject. Let me offer some suggestions that will hopefully help those creating EMR and other healthcare software deal with alert fatigue.

These three simple suggestions will go along way to ensuring you don’t encounter alert fatigue: Provide Value, Meet Expectations, and Allow Customization.

Provide Value – It seems like a simple concept, but it’s extremely important. The key here is to avoid alerts that don’t provide value. The challenge is that it’s often hard to know which type of alert will provide value and which ones won’t. In the case of patients, you should probably error on the side of missing some alerts that could have provided value. In the case of doctors, you should probably error on the side of a few extra alerts that they can dismiss quickly if not appropriate.

Meet Expectations – Related to this is the impression you give the end user about the alerts. Have you created an expectation that they’ll get every alert? If that’s the case, then you better deliver on that expectation. However, if the end user realizes that the alerts won’t cover everything, then they will not depend on an alert. It’s the alert dependency that causes problems. Once someone expects an alert and you don’t deliver, you’re in deep trouble.

Allow Customization – As discussed above, each person has a different tolerance for alerts. So, allowing them to customize their alert preference is key. Plus, the next generation of digital natives are keenly aware of adjusting their alert preferences. This means that the need to be able to customize alert preferences is only going to grow. Plus, each institution has its own alert preferences as well. Over time I expect that healthcare’s alert preferences will become really sophisticated.

There’s a lot of art involved in managing alert fatigue. However, if you follow these three suggestions, you will go a long way to mastering the alert fatigue art.

Balancing Workflow Customization with an EHR

Posted on January 4, 2010 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I’m a HUGE proponent of mapping your current workflows and evaluating how that applies to your EMR implementation. It’s absolutely essential to be able to do it right. It’s not an easy or necessarily fun task, but it pays big dividends when you go live with an EMR.

However, far too many people get caught up with “my workflows” versus the “EMR workflows.” Some people like to argue that an EMR vendor should be able to customize their software to be able to support my current paper work flows. Other people argue that you should toss aside your current workflows and adopt the “best practices” standards of your EMR vendor.

Of course, the real answer is as it should be: somewhere in the middle. The EMR should be built so that you can customize many of the features to match the way you see patients and the way you practice medicine. In fact, this should be part of the evaluation process when selecting an EMR vendor. However, let’s not also be naive enough to think that some things in the electronic world won’t be easier to do than they would have been in the paper world.

You better hope that your EMR implementation does change some of your current processes for the better. That’s part of the reason why your implementing an EMR. You want to improve something about your clinic. If nothing changed, then where would the improvement come from?

Like everything in life, workflow customization just requires balancing your current workflow with the EMR vendor’s suggested workflow and the features of the software.

Free EMR by Medicare?

Posted on November 7, 2007 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I’ve been working with John Deutsch of EMR Experts, Inc. and I invited him to be a guest blogger on my blog. Here’s an article John sent me about the Free Vista EMR offered by the government. While I think the news about Vista being free came out about 2.5 years ago, the information about adopting it is still VERY relevant. Probably because the EMR adoption level is so low.

Enjoy John’s take on the government’s “Free EMR.”

Is anything ever free these days? Maybe so.

Instigated by the incredibly slow adoption of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) by doctors across the nation, Medicare is announcing it will begin offering doctors free electronic medical record software solutions.

Both upfront and ongoing costs have been critical factors in the lagging EMR adoption rate. Medicare hopes that by providing doctors with a free or very low-cost system, doctors will readily adopt EMR putting healthcare providers in America on a common system, thereby, providing Medicare and the general public with obvious, health, reporting and billing benefits.

The proposed system is VistA, (Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture) the widely popular system built by the Veterans Administration.

The adoption of VistA has resulted in the VA achieving a pharmacy prescription accuracy rate of 99.997%. Due to the implementation of VistA, the VA also outperforms most public sector hospitals on a variety of criteria.
The VistA system is public domain software, available through the Freedom of Information Act directly from the VA website or through a network of distributors.

Installed in over 1300 inpatient and outpatient facilities, the system is well-established and quite successful by EMR standards.

But can a system designed for a large organization like the VA also work for a solo practitioner family practice office?

A doctor in a New York Time article writes:

“It is one thing to use a system that someone else installed and someone else maintains. It is another to get a set of disks in the mail and do it yourself.”

Those who have tried to install VistA on their own would agree.

“Giving out a version of VistA is a great idea,” said Dr. David Kibbe, director of the Center for Health Information Technology at the American Academy of Family Physicians, a group that has been working on the project. “But at the beginning, there was a lot of wishful thinking. They said, ‘We’ll just release it.’ I said, ‘Where’s the fairy dust?’ ”

The problems with the healthcare sector and its slow adoption of electronic medical records are much deeper than some would like to admit, and viable solutions have been hard to come by.

The healthcare system is extremely fragmented, with thousands upon thousands of practices all practicing differently, using different billing systems, with different levels of computer proficiency, and different workflows.

Building a one-size-fits-all system has failed in the past and will likely continue to fail. The fact that over 300 different vendors currently develop and market EMR software attests to the need for customization.

The need for pre- and post-sale customization is a reality in every practice since every practice operates differently. Even practicing physicians within the exact same specialty do things differently and run their practices differently.

A key challenge for systems with large installation bases is often that the system becomes rigid simply due to the vendor trying to please too many different practices. Customization gets repeatedly delayed or shelved altogether.

Another concern is that when medical records are stored on servers that Medicare can access and control as they please practices may be hesitant to use the system regardless of the benefits to the practices and their patients.

While Medicare’s plan is to offer the software for free, one must ask what free is. Currently, free is software but not training, installation, and ongoing support.

Even if Medicare did make it 100% free, a free EMR is not free if it fails. The costs involved with a failed implementation can far outweigh the costs of purchasing an EMR at market price due to productivity losses, and hardware and implementation costs.

Maybe Medicare could focus more of their resources in the development and promotion of better standards for integrating already proven EMR systems and integrating EMR systems with electronic personal health records, managed by the patient

Why not offer patients a free electronic health record which can easily interface to all the major EMR vendors in the market? Wouldn’t a record they control, that can communicate with all their health providers, and be accessed by any other provider in the event of an emergency be more beneficial?

After all, isn’t the patient’s best interest the goal of healthcare in the 21st century?

For more information about EMR Experts, Inc. and their Medical Software solutions, please visit www.emrexperts.com