Clinical office processes were tricky before digital EMR systems came along. The endless sorting and file storage, faxes, and ever-changing patient facts made one wonder if any patient file was genuinely current.
The prospect of going paperless is growing among healthcare providers, with EMR/EHR adoption rates hovering around 87 percent. But its performance carries mixed reviews among users.
Eighty-eight percent of healthcare providers report their EHR produces clinical benefits for the practice, including those working in dermatology. “By way of an HL7 interface, the lab can send reports electronically directly to your patient chart and, in certain instances, populate the diagnosis and treatment, streamlining your review and signoff,” explains April Larson, a practicing dermatologist and Director of Clinical Implementation and Advisory Board at PathologyWatch.
“The adoption of [EMR] technology can save the staff from menial, time-consuming tasks and allow them to participate more inpatient care, which increases both staff and patient satisfaction.”
By contrast, others have had different experiences while using the technology. “Your doctor may be spending more time with your electronic health record (EHR) than with you,” warns Forbes contributor Bruce Y. Lee, referring to a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, which found that, despite the fact most patient appointment slots are 15 minutes, the average time a physician spent using the EHR for each patient totaled 16 minutes and 14 seconds.
So, what is to be done? Let’s take a look at what EHR/EMR is getting right and what additional technology can (and should) be added to eliminate existing pain points and provide a long-term solution.
What EMR/EHR does (and does not) get right
Supporters of EMR technology maintain that using electronic medical records helps keep patient data up to date and provide a more coordinated, easily accessible, and comprehensive record for clinical staff, among other functions. And, by providing faster lab results and diagnoses, it would seem EMR/EHR technology has thought of everything.
That is, except, for the needs of the patient.
EMR lacks flexibility and configurability, which are essential for…
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