Technology For Healthcare: Making EMR and EHR Work For You

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The government is determined to see that all healthcare institutions use electronic health records (EHRs) and electronic medical records (EMRs). Their features, after all, streamline the healthcare process. Many physicians and healthcare professionals, however, remain reluctant to implement these records, overwhelmed by the complex system.

 

Although inefficient systems can make physicians a “slave” to their EMR/EHR, the software increases workflow efficiency and preserves critical medical information when implemented properly.

If you wish to reap the full benefits of your EMR software, you must overcome the following challenges first:

 

Cost of Implementation

EHR and EMR implementation is a costly affair. The software, hardware, implementation assistance, support, training, and ongoing fees consume a large chunk of your planned capital investment.

 

According to government reports, the minimum cost of purchasing and installing an EHR/EMR system is $15,000, while the maximum is $70,000 (depending on the provider). Unplanned expenses may also add to the total cost of implementation. Finding financial resources for EHR and EMR is a major hurdle, especially for smaller practices.

 

The software cost is one of the reasons that discourage healthcare institutions from investing in EMR and EHR. Still, the benefits significantly outweigh the implementation expense; getting an EHR/EMR system is more cost-effective in the long term.

If you are struggling to set a budget for the software, conduct a thorough assessment of your needs, and consult your vendors for flexible EMR/EHR solutions.

 

Software-Workflow Mismatch

Some medical institutions may discover that, even after careful implementation, the software does not provide the functionality they need. Physicians aren’t comfortable with the idea of investing a substantial amount of money and being unable to use a purchase to its full potential.

 

Avoid this problem by putting more time into the planning process. Instead of rushing into decisions, consult with potential vendors and ask them to provide an in-depth demonstration of the functions and features of EMR and EHR. Have your doctors and administrative staff test-drive the software and seek their feedback before you make a purchase.

 

Staff Resistance

Not everyone in the staff would readily accept the idea of technological implementation in the hospital. Also, there are health professionals who are non-believers in the efficiency of electronic health and medical records. They might refuse to give up the documentation process.

 

Lack of awareness is one of the reasons behind staff resistance. Address their concerns by conducting a seminar about the technological advancements of EHR and EMR. Discuss the comprehensive benefits of the software and system to their daily tasks. By answering their questions, you can gain their trust in the system.

 

Training Challenges

In terms of team training, some challenges could hinder the implementation of EHR and EMR.

 

First, training is time-consuming. Physicians, the rest of the medical team, and your admin staff must allot extra time and effort to understand the new system. Scheduling training sessions can be tricky since you have to consider the amount of work they have to deal with every day. Second, the entire program might overwhelm your employees. Some employees might be discouraged to go through the training.

 

The solution is to designate key employees who can make room for their EMR and EHR training. If you are training a large number, divide them by batches to ensure the continuous operation of your practice while the others are attending the training.

 

Also, simplify the training curriculum. Make it easier to digest for your team so that they’ll appreciate the training more.

 

Integration

Many doctors are comfortable with their legacy systems for scheduling and financial data, and jumping to a new system is not an option they’re ready to entertain. The problem is doctors don’t often have the resources or time to talk to EMR/EHR vendors. As a result, physicians who wish to transition to EMR may have to choose between two systems or try to work with an EMR vendor whose products do not suit their needs.

 

Integration is often ‘buggy,’ especially when two systems (e.g., EMR and a scheduling system) try to communicate. Things can get more complex. Instead of going for real-time integration, go for a ‘snapshot’ strategy (a form of data dumping you can do once a day to move records by gradually to the EHR.

 

EHR Compliance Limitation

Keeping up with regulations is a challenge, particularly with requirements to comply with meaningful use (MU). This is a federal incentive that promotes the use of EHR and EMR technology among healthcare providers. Some vendors may fall behind these requirements, which may increase your risk of unmet obligations.

 

The best way to address this is to assign a staff member to communicate with potential vendors regarding the Meaningful Use deadlines and requirements.

 

You and your team need not be caught up in complex EHR AND EMR systems. If you are looking to implement these systems, communicate with a potential provider to learn more about the benefits and implementation processes.


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