Hospitals face a number of challenges when they implement a new electronic health records (EHR) system. One of them is often getting doctors on board with the new system. Due to this and other issues, facilities may struggle to maintain productivity at first.
The key to overcoming these obstacles is communication.
The benefits of an EHR system need to be stressed by the folks in charge from the initial planning stages on. Organizations need to be honest about what the system will achieve so that doctors aren’t disappointed in the actual results.
Effectively communicating the benefits of electronic records, training everyone properly and providing strong technical support can help organizations overcome doctors’ three most common complaints about EHR systems:
Implementing an EHR system is a huge undertaking, and as with any new tech system, it will take some time for an organization to adapt to it. That means doctors might not see any productivity gains for a while. In fact a survey conducted by American EHR Partners found that in many cases, productivity drops dramatically right after a new system is installed.
Physicians may also become frustrated that they’re no more productive with their documentation than they were before the EHR system implementation. That’s why it’s important to stress the benefits of EHRs to doctors in terms of what they’ll allow docs to do for their patients and not so much in terms of saving time.
So if physicians start feeling like data entry clerks, you may need to take a look at the system and make sure it is working properly or get providers more training so they can use the EHR system more effectively.
The bottom line is: Hospital administrators need to make sure doctors still have time to focus on what they’re best at — treating patients – to keep physicians happy.
Overreliance on EHR systems
EHR systems have a lot of features to help doctors make better decisions — and some doctors will interpret that to mean the system will be making decisions for them. Facilities, however, need to emphasize during EHR training how doctors can combine the information they get from the system with their own expertise to give patients the best possible care.
Another benefit to emphasize is the fact that EHRs can greatly increase efficiency for administrative staff through patient self-service tools.
Hospitals can save a lot of staff time by having patients enter data into the system themselves. For example, many patient forms can be filled out beforehand through online portals or at a computer kiosk in the waiting room.
Interfere with patient communication
Little changes that are caused by EHR adoption can have a big impact — for example, facing a computer instead of holding a chart can make it more difficult to make eye contact with a patient and make it clear the doctor is listening.
To help, hospitals might want to consider using tablets instead of laptops to access records. This makes it feel more like providers are holding paper charts and are still able to focus on the patient, rather than sitting with their backs to patients typing away.
What’s extremely important to getting physician buy-in for an EHR system is to find one that’s easy for doctors to use and has all the features the hospital needs. Just remember, there’s no such thing as a perfect system. In a hospital with numerous physicians, there will always be some gripes about any given EHR system.
That’s why finding a system that’s flexible enough to meet the greatest number of end users’ needs is the best bet.