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Five Ways to Make Your EMR Usable


Lack of usability is often at the root of slow electronic medical record (EMR) adoptionbut usability refers to more than user satisfaction.

It’s not about the screens and the number of clicks used to navigate them; it’s about the functionality of the system. Below are five ways to ensure your EMR won’t cause headaches.

Ease. Your EMR cannot be burdensome. To ensure it isn’t, you may want to look at how physicians interact with nurses (both in the office and on the phone) when using the demo EMR.

Supportiveness. Your EMR should support your office workflows. To ensure it does, you may want to present EMR vendors you’re considering with three clinical scenarios: one that’s common, one that’s challenging, and one that involves many staff interactions.

Efficiency. A good EMR will ultimately save you time  and this can be accomplished in many ways, big and small. For example, keeping an electronic chart open on the desktop can help workflows, because if a provider is often in one patient’s chart when a phone call interrupts his work, he may want to open another chart but keep the first one open. To ensure efficiency, you’ll want to watch providers using an EMR in real-life scenarios.

Flexibility. A good EMR will adapt to your changing needs. Ensure that it can evolve as providers become comfortable with improvements in workflow and operational efficiencies as new technologies are developed.

Effectiveness. Finally, your EMR has to work. In other words, does it help you achieve current results, which are based on volume of patients and procedures? Will it help you achieve future results, which many health care analysts believe will be value-driven, and for which clinical data is used to measure quality?

Related articles: Five Keys to EMR Usability

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