5 Easy Ways to Maximize Use of Your EHR System After Implementation

Posted by: Alok Prasad

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According to a study from Baylor Health Care System and the Institute for Health Care Research and Improvement, it takes approximately 134 hours per physician for medical practice end-users to prepare for the launch of an EHR system. That's on top of around 600Post EHR Implementation Efficiency hours of implementation work by a core team. With so much time spent implementing an EHR system, medical practices want to get maximum value from the end product without added expense.

Use all technology offered by your EHR package.

Maximizing return-on-investment for your electronic health record software requires using all functionality offered by the EHR package that is relevant to your practice. Though the benefit comes after implementation, lay the groundwork for this before and during the process. Include all departments in the practice in implementation planning and training, and identify areas were the EHR system can better link departments or increase communication. Technology such as a patient portal, an ePrescription system, or integrated practice management tools let you gain efficiency across your entire practice.

Connect with local networks for digital records exchange.

Build a network of electronic contacts with local hospitals and other providers or join a health information exchange to facilitate safe, secure sharing of patient records. Using your EHR system to exchange information with other providers reduces the cost associated with hardcopy creation and transport, but it also reduces the chance that information will be missing from the patient's records. Together, providers can create a comprehensive story of a patient's treatment, increasing viability for multidisciplinary treatment plans and decreasing opportunity for errors.

Regularly review practice requirements.

The needs of growing medical offices change over time, making it important to review requirements on a regular basis. Work with your EHR vendor to make necessary software changes or adjust contracts to meet growth or other needs. Many vendors are happy to include growth plans in contracts for EHR services, but it's important that providers don't forget that expansion or customization is an option.

Review goals and progress regularly.

The goal of launching an EHR and attesting to Meaningful Use is large, which means it can become the end-goal for medical offices. Once an EHR system is launched and things are running smoothly, take time to reassess goals and progress. EHR systems provide the chance to continually improve productivity and patient care in your office. Set goals quarterly or annually and use your EHR as one of the tools that lets your practice achieve those goals rather than the goal itself. If your EHR system isn't helping you grow, then talk to your vendor about opportunities for customization.

Use dashboard and other metrics throughout your practice.

Continual improvement is hard to achieve without data to guide you. Many EHR systems come with dashboards or reporting functions that let medical practices review essential data points. Measurements about patient wait times, treatments used, diagnosis, charges billed and much more can be reviewed in detail or as trends over time. Ask your vendor about custom reports to track information relevant to your office, especially if you have a specialty practice.

Information from dashboards can be used to assess the viability of your procedures and pinpoint where bottlenecks or scaling opportunities may be occurring in the practice. The information also provides an objective measurement for the success of the office and individual employees. Data can be used during employee reviews or to improve the success of patient treatments.

For more information about implementing electronic health records in your office—or how your EHR system could be working harder for you—contact RevenueXL today.

Topics: EHR Software, EHR Implementation

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