Why One-Size-Fits-All doesn’t work for EHR

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 9.22.26 AMBy Divan Dave

Approximately 70% of practicing physicians are dissatisfied with existing EHR Systems with cost and poor system functionality being two key factors. 

Here’s why this high percentage isn’t all that surprising. Most EHR systems, while meeting all government compliance requirements, have been created as “one-size-fits-all” platforms which means the cardiologist, urgent care center, OB-GYN, even ophthalmologist practice are all using the exact same system. The result is this: by not using a specialty-specific program – physicians and administrators are required to complete irrelevant pages and pages of patient information rather than having an EHR that addresses the areas of treatment these practices manage.

And, when an admin staffer or skilled nurse is completing the one-size-fits-all EHR forms – they are wasting lots of time and money when they type “N/A” or check off “None” to process pages and pages of patient data.  The unnecessary, irrelevant and distracting input often requires appointments to last longer which means less patients could be scheduled and at the same time having skilled nurses tied up with the computer or adding clerical staff.  EHRs are supposed to improve the doctor-patient and doctor-office experience – so why are physicians looking for solutions to manage the solutions?

Specialty EHR platforms have specialty specific EHR features and automated work flows. For instance, Tracker Sheet for Urgent Care, Growth Charts for Pediatrics, Dialysis workflow for Nephrology, Group Scheduling for Behavioral Health and so on.

The key for specialty practices, urgent care facilities and same-day clinics to operate an efficient practice with an eye on improved patient care, the bottom line, and government compliance requires an EHR that was designed and caters to the specialty practice and area of treatment. Below are ways a custom EHR will improve and optimize efficiency and patient care at practices and facilities:

1.       Fast input & automation:  One good example in custom EHR would be needs of the OB-GYN practice. All information associated with ACOG forms in one convenient place. Instead of having to scroll and search for fields that need to be filled in – custom programs will automate and streamline to easily access tabbed information that is then pulled directly into the patient’s ACOG form. Since all data is stored in the system, doctors do not have to engage in repetitive inputs or worry about errors delaying patient care.

2.      Next step processing: The system must have the ability to order laboratory tests and prescription medications from any specialty form. This means that the EHR system is providing physicians with everything they need to capture and order necessary items for their patients at one time and in one place. In addition, forms can be printed for patient use or faxed to hospitals for expedited patient care.

3.      Training of staff:  Because companies offering custom EHR systems have taken the time to study each type of specialty practice to get the e systems right – they have fully trained staff to take you through the software in terms of addressing each specialty priority. This makes it possible for even the non-techies on the staff to become user-friendly with the platform.

4.      Specialized patient portals and tools:  By having a specialty-specific system, you will be able to build a patient portal and other communication tools that will be targeted for health areas that concern them.  Keyword and topic search for education, medicine reminders, and more will have speed and alignment to make follow-up easier for the patients.

Divan Dave is CEO of OmniMD, www.OmniMD.com, a leading EHR and Practice Management provider based in Tarrytown, NY.  OmniMD covers 34 medical specialties and serves over 12,000 physician practices and healthcare facilities. Cloud-based OmniEHR™ is a Meaningful Use certified complete EHR and is one of the few to receive certification on all 44 Clinical Quality Measures. Divan Dave can be reached at DivanDave@OmniMD.com.

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