Are you feeling the weight of physician burnout?
When you think of an EHR, do you instantly feel stressed? Too often, the answer to that question is yes. Physicians think of added clerical burden, the depersonalization associated with spending so much time inputting data, the reduced sense of personal accomplishment correlated to the pressure to ensure correct documentation. It makes sense, when you look at it that way, that many feel that EHR use contributes to physician burnout. The reality, though, is that it wasn’t supposed to be this way, and it doesn’t have to be.
When used properly, EHRs can alleviate stress and help rather than hinder clinical efficiency. So how do we take an EHR from being the cause of burnout to the solution for it? Let’s take a look at some tips as well as some EHR benefits to help you see these systems the way they were meant to be seen.
Conduct proper EHR training
Not understanding how anything works, software related or not, causes stress. Too often practices purchase and implement an EHR but skimp out on training, opting instead to wing it and learn as they go. This greatly reduces efficiency and increases frustration. Instead of trying to save time and money, invest those resources up front in adequate training.
Spending now will pay incredible dividends over time by allowing you to learn how your system works and how it fits into your workflow. so you can make sure your EHR works for you instead of being forced to adjust your process to keep up with the EHR.
Appoint “Super Users”
Training is crucial but physicians have a lot to remember, therefore, while it’s important to understand your EHR, being an expert might not be feasible. Designate someone in your office to be your friendly, local EHR guru, readily available to help you through any difficulty you might face.
Choose someone who’s tech savvy, interested in learning the ins and outs of your EHR, and invested in playing tech support internally. Appointing a Super User in your practice provides a first line of defense when an issue occurs with the EHR before you spend time on the phone with Support.
Improve practice efficiency with customized set up
When selecting and implementing your EHR, work with your vendor to make any customizations that allow your system to be intuitive for your specific practice’s processes. Set up your dashboards so your most used modules are available at your fingertips. Also, ensure that all users have access to the features they need in order to correctly distribute the practice workload and keep your process running smoothly.
Communicate with your EHR vendor
Keep in touch with your vendor. As their customer, you’re their lifeblood; make sure they know what you need and how they can keep you happy. When an issue occurs that your Super User can’t correct, contact Customer Support. Report concerns and feature requests to the appropriate parties. You’re paying good money for your EHR and your vendor can’t make the kind of changes you’d like to see if they don’t know what they are. Give them the opportunity to wow you.
Stress alleviating benefits of EHRs
A perspective shift can be a beautiful thing. You already know why your EHR drives you nuts at times; here’s a list of all the reasons you should love your EHR. And if you aren’t, maybe you need to revisit the tips above or even reconsider your EHR choice. EHRs should:
- Provide accurate, up-to-date, and complete information about patients at your fingertips
- Allow for coordinated, efficient care through quick and easy access to patient records
- Enable secure sharing of medical information electronically with patients and other clinicians
- Improve patient/provider communication
- Allow for safer, more reliable prescribing
- Promote complete documentation and accurate coding and billing
- Enhance the privacy and security of patient data
- Improve productivity and work/life balance
- Reduce costs
It’s easy for EHRs to feel like a burden, but by investing time and attention during the implementation process it’s possible for the same technology that once caused you stress to make your life easier. Don’t give up on EHRs just yet; give your current system an opportunity to prove itself.