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Rethinking the EHR system: The Most Important Components

Electronic Health Records | Industry News

 EHR systemThe following excerpt is from an article found on Modern Medicine. It was written by Lynda Charters. 

If you are considering buying a new electronic health record (EHR) system or updating your current one, make sure you spend enough time in the preparatory stage of system selection and vendor selection, says one expert.

The Most Important Components of an EHR System

Physicians need to determine what processes they have in their practice and how they would like those processes to look with an EHR. They should write down their practice workflow in areas such as scheduled and unscheduled patients, phone calls, and surgeries, and think about how these processes may be improved using an EHR, said Michael V. Boland, MD, PhD, who is associate professor, Wilmer Eye Institute and Health Sciences Informatics, and director of information technology, Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.

When documenting the practice routines, consider the numerous details involved in each step, he suggested.

“It is inadequate to say that the patient checks in, is evaluated by a technician and then a physician, and then checks out. The documentation must include the details of each step, such as use of a paper chart or not at check in and notification of other office personnel regarding the patient and testing, for example. This documentation will provide a complete map of the flow of patients in the clinic and this map will differ for new patients, returning patients, emergency patients, and surgical patients,” he explained.

Reviewing your forms

Identifying forms used in a practice also is part of the discovery documentation process, as they are a proxy for important workflow steps, such as examination forms, test interpretation, agreements for surgery, or recommendations for a referral or a procedure for a patient, Dr. Boland said.

“These become a key piece of what will be recreated later and a conversion to an EHR is a good opportunity to redesign the forms if they are not working properly,” he noted.

Determining the roles of all practice personnel, i.e., physicians, technicians, managers, and administrative staff, is another major step as well. Remember that some staff members perform multiple duties.

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