During the last five years, a lot has happened to healthcare organizations; from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, to ICD-10 Conversion and HITECH Regulations. These regulatory requirements and demands have been causing some organizations to struggle.
Since the implementation of EHRs, physicians and clinicians are having to interact with technology far more than they had ever imagined, and often more than they’d like to. Many systems are cumbersome, unintuitive, lack easy-to-use tools and navigation, and add complexity to their processes. All of these things lead to a poor relationship between healthcare providers and IT, causing provider frustration instead of being a helpful tool in providing better patient care.
Consider these five steps to make technology a great tool in providing better patient care instead of causing frustration among providers.
1. Get The Technology Basics In PlaceTechnology should just work and your technology should to be able to run efficiently all the time. Putting in a reliable healthcare grade network and datacenter can help ensure that all IT is running correctly and efficiently. Create an end point device plan that includes patient/exam room personal computers, mobile devices and printing. Putting in a robust and reliable wireless network and comprehensive security plan is also key.
2. Build a Superuser Support StructureThis is a very critical piece. Start by developing a “Physician Advocate” or Superusers who can provide support to providers when they are interacting with technology. Quick responses to prover EHR questions and issues go a long way to enhancing system satisfaction. Be sure to track provider issues so that you get an idea of how providers are actually interacting with IT and what areas might need training on.
3. Develop Best Practice [and Application] WorkflowsStart putting project management disciplines in place to keep your organization on task, on budget, and to help develop efficient workflow within your applications and use of technology. Use timelines and milestones to track progress and keep people accountable on the work that they are doing. Developing these best practices will allow for your IT department to be able to focus on strategic projects and if your workflow becomes optimized, it should increase provider use of technology.
4. Training, Training And More TrainingProviding strong, detailed training is key to getting providers on board with using more technology. Develop a training plan that will be able to help providers fully understand how to use EHR and the other technology they will be using with confidence. Training is best done in smaller intervals to not take too much of the day away from providers. Incorporate the mantra “everybody plays or everybody pays.” We began offering CME credits for EHR training – it may help get physicians and users in the room.
5. Plan For The FutureIt’s important to look towards the future and to plan ahead when it comes to IT, but in the current context of healthcare, this can’t be done in a bubble. Develop an IT Steering Committee and an IT Plan that includes providers in IT decisions. Including providers in these IT decisions can help them to use technology the best patient care they can. Remember, too, a happy provider is a productive provider.
Technology is a great tool for providers to use to enhance and improve patient care. For more information on this topic, download my free webinar, “A Silver Lining: Improving Provider Productivity Using Technology” where I discuss this topic and these five steps more in detail.