Electronic medical records (EMRs) are now used by 98 percent of US hospitals, yet this technology still represents a double-edged sword for many providers. While EMRs make healthcare more efficient and can improve the quality of care, many doctors feel they are spending more time behind the computer and less time with patients.
At Mobius, our New Years resolution is to help you boost your EMR with modern medical tools. Here are five tips for using your EMR more effectively in 2018.
1. Avoid typing
Physicians say typing information into EMRs takes too much time and draws attention away from patients. For some physicians, the solution is a medical assistant who can transcribe the doctor’s note either during the visit or remotely from a recording. John W. Beasley, MD and founder of I-PrACTISE (Improving Primary Care Through Industrial Systems Engineering) has found that physicians can save about six hours a week by dictating notes for medical assistants to edit and enter into the EMR.
However, medical transcription has evolved a lot with new technology like Natural Language Processing, or the ability for computers to understand human speech. Providers without the resources to hire a dedicated scribe should consider adopting one of the many new software solutions that automate medical transcription. For example, Mobius Scribe is a live transcription function for smartphones and tablets that lets physicians dictate to a patient’s EMR and instantly have an accurate transcription recorded in the patient’s chart.
2. Optimize your EMR for your workflow
Doctors should work with their EMR vendors or IT consultants to optimize their software for their individual workflow. Many clinicians settle for default settings that require scrolling or clicking through extra screens. Add this scrolling up over thousands of patient visits, and you’ve spent hundreds of unnecessary hours behind a screen.
Providers should invest in training so that physicians and staff learn shortcuts and macros to speed through routine tasks. Most doctors prescribe the same few dozen medications and they can save lots of time by pre-formatting those into the EMR. Don’t forget to fully utilize vendor training resources such as webinars, white papers and training modules.
3. Involve patients in the process
Having patients handle some data entry tasks can save time and improve EMR accuracy. Two good options are patient portals and in-office solutions like tablets or kiosks.
Many doctors have patients enter basic information through patient portals prior to their visit, which can reduce the time physicians and staff spend documenting patient information. Portals can be integrated with the EMR so that patients can add information like health histories or current medications directly to their chart. Some physicians use in-office tablets or kiosks so that patients can enter basic information while waiting in the reception area. As with patient portals, these data entry methods can be integrated to automatically populate the EMR.
4. Consider going mobile
Providers are beginning to realize the enormous potential of smartphones – a revolutionary clinical tool already owned by 96 percent of doctors. With an increasing number of medical apps that streamline clinical workflow, smartphones and tablets can help providers complete tasks quickly without getting distracted from patient care.
Apps like Mobius Clinic seamlessly integrate with EMRs to automate vitals collection, boost clinical documentation, automate dictation and much more. Physicians using smartphones with software like Mobius have found that it allows them to spend more time with patients and be more efficient in the office.
5. Remember to put patients first
At the end of the day, the best physicians care most about improving patient outcomes. Instead of getting caught up with the technology, providers should focus on using EMRs to communicate and interact more effectively with their patients.
Sometimes software can help, but so can simple things like making eye contact and continuing to communicate with the patient while entering data. As you boost your EMR productivity in 2018, remember that technology is always just a tool to help you accomplish what matters.