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.