Last Updated on May 3, 2023 by Beth Skwarecki
EHRs present a great opportunity to operationalize, parse, and collect patient data in ways that healthcare has not been able to in the past. But because EHRs keep the data largely inoperable, we have yet to see such innovation as common practice. The reality is, this data doesn’t have to remain inoperable. Make sure you aren’t devaluing your EHR by practicing any of the 7 Deadly EHR Sins:
7 Deadly EHR Sins
#1. Focusing Only on the Price of Interoperability
It’s concerning those companies who sell EHRs essentially lock the data into that system, pigeonholing them into either leaving that data inoperable or paying between $5,000 and $50,000 to make it interoperable on top of the $15,000-$70,000. However, if you aren’t going to operationalize that data into something meaningful, you may as well still be using pen and paper. If you’re a cutting-edge doctor’s office or hospital, factor in the cost of interoperability for your budget.
#2. Sticking to a Single Brand
There are literally hundreds of EHR products that are all built with different architectures, service models, and service capabilities. This makes it especially challenging when trying to share data between systems. In some instances, it may make sense to use a uniform provider for all of your systems, but planning for future integrations ahead of time will prevent you from being locked into waiting for a release or update from a single brand. The easiest way to build an optimal EHR system is to pick the best individual systems and create a plan to make them communicate.
#3. Increasing Your Cognitive Workload
A recent study shows physicians spend 49% of their time working in an EHR or doing other desk work, meaning that for every one hour a doctor spends with patients they spend two doing EHR and other desk work.
While this has a negative impact on the patient and provider experience on a typical day, it can become even more burdensome when a new set of standards is released and physicians must update their systems to comply. To avoid wasting time, make sure your system is set up for efficiency from day one.
#4. Safety & Liability in Documentation
Your EHR is only as good as your practices. If your documentation is poor or unreliable, it poses a threat to the quality of care being provided. That is considered one of the EHR sins.
#5. Allowing Too Many Options to Navigate
With HL7, providers have the opportunity to customize their systems with few restrictions. This can be beneficial but if the system is built with unclear navigation or too many options it can leave providers frustrated. Make sure to keep a concise, inclusive list of your documentation to make the EHR as user-friendly as possible.
Many of the issues already discussed could be avoided with proper staff training with an EHR. Unfortunately, many practices and hospitals do not take the time to learn the new systems upfront. This can have large, negative impacts on productivity and accuracy in the long run.
#7. Not Strategizing for the Future
Preparation is key when it comes to EHR implementation and integrations. If you want your system to work well, it is important to consider the first 6 sins and come up with an active strategy to avoid them.
Healthcare technology is evolving at an unprecedented pace. Even if you feel like your system is working now, it’s good to have experts on your team that can guide you on how to best prepare for the future.
Beth is Cloudmineinc’s senior health editor and a certified personal trainer. She has over 10 years experience as a science journalist and is the author of two books. She deadlifts over 315 lbs.