Healthcare News & Insights

Expert tip: Listen to nurses when implementing an EHR

One healthcare organization has advice for others that are currently shopping around for an EHR system: Make sure you pay close attention to the opinions of the people who will spend the most time using EHRs. 

In particular, that means listen to nurses.

That’s the advice from Kaiser Permanente, the large healthcare system that’s adopted electronic health records in 36 hospitals. While having people at the top of the management scale who champion the greater use of health IT, clinicians in the trenches are equally important, Kaiser representatives said at the recent HIMSS Nursing I.T. Symposium in New Orleans.

Nurses’ feedback is important because they log on to the EHR system some 80 – 100 times a day, says Kaiser. To get those clinicians more involved in the EHR selection and implementation process, the organization took several steps, including:

  • Placing nurses in high-level IT management roles, and
  • Surveying nurses about their most pressing needs regarding EHRs and other health IT.

Get EHR feedback from doctors and nurses

Getting feedback from clinicians is critical when selecting an EHR system. After all, when the system doesn’t meet the users’ needs, that leads to low satisfaction and prevents the technology from improving efficiency and quality.

One key area to pay attention to: How easy a system is to use. A common complaint about EHRs is that the systems are difficult to navigate and aren’t user friendly. And if an EHR system is difficult to use, that means the organization won’t get the most out of its health IT investments.

That’s why it pays to survey doctors, nurses and other users what their biggest needs are before the EHR selection process begins. Also, organizations can have representatives from those groups try product demos to help choose the system that’s best for the people who will actually use it.

In addition, it helps to survey clinicians about other areas — such as what kind of training they need. Keep in mind that not all doctors and nurses are tech-savvy and people in your organization may require different types of education than others.

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