EMR Implementations Change Workflow

Posted on September 4, 2009 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 saw an EMR demo today and they made a really interesting point about workflow. In fact, I was impressed that the EMR vendor admitted up front that you would need to change your clinic to work with their EMR software. I’ve said this a number of times on this site, but it was kind of refreshing to hear an EMR vendor admit it. I’ll have more on the rest of the demo/presentations in future posts.

What was most interesting was that after admitting that you would need to change the way you work to use an EMR, he made a really interesting and powerful point. The basic concept was that if you don’t have an EMR, your current workflow is bound by the paper world in which you now live. Hopefully, adding an EMR to the mix provides some new ways to serve patients that were impossible to accomplish in the paper world.

I think you could also add that implementing an EMR removes a bunch of paper queues. For example, we use to have a half sheet of paper that was filled out by the patient follow the patient throughout the entire visit. What were we going to do without that half sheet of paper? This is one of those workflow changes that isn’t a deal breaker, but just had to be considered and planned for.

Also, don’t confuse changes to your workflow with changes to how you treat a patient. Your workflow will absolutely change. We’ll save how an EMR affects how you treat a patient for another post.