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EMR Success Depends on Proper EMR Access

Posted on March 1, 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.

With all of the focus being on all the various regulatory requirements (meaningful use, ACOs, ICD-10, 5010), I think there’s a real issue brewing in healthcare IT because we’re not focusing on other IT issues. As a hospital works on their EHR implementation strategy, it’s easy for them to focus a lot of time and effort to make sure that they meet the meaningful use attestation requirements. This is important, because if they don’t focus on meaningful use, then they’ll never meet the meaningful use measures. However, in the process I’m starting to see many institutions that short change the IT part of the EMR equation.

This point was really driven home to me when I was reading “Tips for Ensuring EMR Access = Success” on the Point of Care Corner blog. Here’s a great paragraph from that blog that highlights the challenge:

An effective access-point strategy must also support a safe, ergonomic workplace that enables caregivers to focus on patients rather than “hunting and gathering” the tools and information they need. Most nurses walk many miles per shift. With good planning, they will not need to add to that total looking for an open computer to enter or view patient information.

Unfortunately, in the rush to implement meaningful use of a certified EHR by the deadlines, many institutions aren’t spending the time required to make sure that EMR access is available when and where it’s needed.

The good part of this story is that you can still correct this problem after the fact. Plus, it’s not that hard once a hospital CIO places focus on it. However, it does take a focused effort. Ideally you would have worked through the EMR access issues during your EMR implementation, but it shouldn’t be any surprise that you weren’t able to plan for all of your unseen EMR access needs. So making sure you plan a review after your EMR has been in place is essential.

There is nothing more demoralizing to a user of an EMR than to not be able to get into the EMR when they need it. Although, many times EMR users won’t know what they need until after they’ve been using the EMR for a little while. There’s nothing more valuable than experience to inform decisions. Plus, technology is constantly changing, so you’ll want to consider how new technologies can make your EMR users’ lives better.

This issue reminds me of a comment Will Weider, CIO of Ministry Health Care, made in this interview. When asked what project he thought didn’t get enough attention in the hospital, he answered that it was the need to abandon Windows XP by the time Microsoft ends support. Evaluating EMR access points is another issue that I think doesn’t get enough regular attention. It’s unfortunate, because it can make an extremely big difference in what your EMR users think about their EMR experience.

Full Disclosure: Metro is a sponsor of EMR and HIPAA

uChek Brings Urinalysis Home

Posted on I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

Most doctor’s appointments tend to involve some kind of urine sample, at least it seems like it. Even though I’m sure no one really looks forward to this, urine tests can reveal a lot of information about a person’s health, and what may be causing problems. uChek, a product from Biosense Technologies, is helping make it possible for people to do this test at home.

uChek allows a person to use their phone to diagnose an at-home urine test. Basically, a person can purchase a uChek kit, which has a uChek color mat and sample urine dipsticks. The dipstick changes color according to the concentration of different analytes in urine. You then put the dipstick on the color mat, and then compare this to the uChek app. This will help to determine if there is anything amiss. It is compatible with the five most commonly used urine dipsticks, which can be purchased at pharmacies. Although it is recommended to use the uChek kit, someone can purchase the dipsticks are a pharmacy, and then compare it to the app manually. If the app isn’t used, accuracy may be lower because it takes longer to manually check.

When used correctly, uChek has 95 percent accuracy at identifying the concentration of up to 10 analytes — glucose, protein, ketones, urobilinogen, bilirubin, specific gravity, blood, pH, leukocytes, and nitrites. Being able to see this information can help a person who suspects they have certain illnesses, such as diabetes or a UTI, keep track of their symptoms. The app will create a graph with different readings over time.

The website makes sure to state that this is not a medical device, and not meant to diagnose illnesses and diseases. It is merely for informational reasons. I think this is pretty awesome. For example, I was thinking it could helpful for someone who is at risk for pre-eclampsia. Since that is often diagnosed through a urine sample, if someone wants to monitor their urine at home, they might be able to catch it early, and get treatment faster as well.

uChek isn’t available yet for purchase, or to be downloaded, but it will be soon. If this is something you are interested in, be sure to go enter your information on the site, so they can send you updates as they happen.