Cutting Down On EMR Clicks

Posted on August 16, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

Few things frustrate clinicians more than having to engage in a long string of clicks to get their EMR work done. But according to a piece in Health Data Management, medical practices can take a series of steps that will gradually reduce the number of clicks practitioners need to execute to do what they want to do.

Contributing writer Katherine Redmond offers a list of changes practices can make which can address some problems with excess clicks without having to get programmers involved:

* Change administrative settings

Many independent ambulatory practices retain significant control of administrative EMR functions, which allows them to tailor some functions to their needs, Redmond notes. For example, she says, most EMRs let users select defaults for specific fields, saving users from  having to pick an option each time.

* Change system configuration

After the practice has used the EMR for a while, and identified areas in which workflow is less than ideal, it’s time to find ways to save time and energy. One way to do this, she suggests, is to develop pick-lists which allow the most commonly selected items to appear at the top. Another possibility is to research the availability of user-defined or custom fields, which can make information accessible that might have otherwise only been available on a distant screen.

* Schedule regular training

To optimize practice workflow, practices should take advantage of  the training resources that come with the EMR, which often include webinars, live chat sessions, videos or customer service calls, she points out. To maximize the benefit of training time, she suggests, there are several options, including pre-scheduling an hour a week or every two weeks to have a call with the vendor, asking the vendor to demonstrate new features, and asking vendor reps to brainstorm methods of streamlining workflow.

In this blog item, I’ve given you a taste of the recommendations Redmond made, but the article has several more to share — I recommend you look at it directly. The bottom line seems to be that practices have more power than they might think to customize their EMR experience and workflow to minimize clicks. Good to know that you don’t have to develop your own EMR to get more of what you want from your system.