How to Take Your Practice's EHR System to the Next Level

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Optimize Clinical Workflows and Improve Patient Outcomes With These Easy Tips

Improving electronic health records (EHRs) involves enhancing their accuracy, accessibility, and interoperability. This can be achieved by implementing user-friendly interfaces, integrating AI-powered tools for data analysis, and ensuring seamless data exchange between different healthcare systems.

Electronic health records (EHRs) have become an indispensable part of modern medical practices. However, simply implementing an EHR system is not enough. To fully realize the benefits of EHRs, you need to optimize their use for your unique practice needs.

In this comprehensive guide, we provide key insights and actionable steps on how to improve your EHR system, boost efficiency, enhance patient care, and take your practice to the next level.

What is an EHR and What are its Goals?

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An EHR is an electronic version of a patient's medical history that is maintained digitally by healthcare providers over time. This includes information like patient demographics, medical and surgical histories, medications, vital signs, immunizations, laboratory data, and radiology reports. The EHR allows a patient's health information to be accessed and shared securely across different healthcare settings.

The overarching goals of EHR systems are to:

  • Improve efficiency and quality of care by enabling providers quick access to comprehensive patient records for more coordinated and streamlined care. Having integrated medical data in one place allows physicians to make better-informed diagnosis and treatment decisions.
  • Facilitate prevention of safety events and improve patient safety by making digital health information readily available. This helps achieve the aims of national patient safety initiatives.
  • Enable optimal management of an individual's health or a population's health when EHR data is analyzed in aggregate. Data trends can promote evidence-based care protocols.
  • Reduce paperwork and streamline workflows by digitizing health information into one centralized, secure platform rather than scattered paper files. This optimizes office efficiency.

See how Calysta EMR can streamline your practice's patient care and workflow - book a demo today!

5 Easy Ways to Improve EHR Implementation

Implementing an electronic health record (EHR) system presents countless opportunities as well as challenges for healthcare organizations. While EHRs contain troves of valuable patient data and enable enhanced care coordination, realizing their full potential requires thoughtful design and continuous optimization.

  1. Standardizing EHR Systems for Intuitive Use

For many clinicians, learning to use an EHR system can be frustrating and disruptive to workflow. The good news is that improving EHR usability is possible with a few key strategies:

Streamline Data Entry with Templates and MacrosLeverage templates for documentation and macros for commonly repeated tasks. This reduces repetitive typing and saves time during patient visits.
Implement Intuitive InterfacesWell-designed interfaces with logical menu layouts, minimal clicks, and search functionality can simplify EHR navigation. Evaluate your system to identify areas for improvement.
Provide Ongoing EHR TrainingConduct periodic training refreshers on optimal EHR use. This helps users stay up-to-date as new features are added.

When thoughtfully implemented, these steps help standardize EHR use across your practice for a more intuitive and efficient clinician experience.

  1. Improving Interoperability for Seamless Data Sharing

Fragmented patient information across different healthcare systems is a major roadblock. Lack of interoperability can negatively impact care coordination and patient outcomes. Here are some tips to improve data exchange:

  • Utilize Health Information Exchanges: Connect to your regional or statewide Health Information Exchange (HIE) to securely share patient records across participating healthcare organizations.
  • Leverage Common Data Standards: Adopt common vocabulary standards for documenting diagnosis, medications, procedures, and more. This facilitates smoother data exchange between systems.
  • Implement APIs for Third-Party App Integration: Application programming interfaces (APIs) allow seamless integration with third-party apps. This expands your EHR's capabilities and connectivity.
  1. Enhancing EHRs for Streamlined Clinical Workflows

EHRs should complement and enhance, not hinder, patient care workflows. Consider these workflow optimization strategies:

Automate Manual ProcessesIdentify repetitive manual tasks that can be automated through macros, alerts, and workflows. This reduces administrative burden on clinicians.
Reorganize EHR DisplaysEvaluate if your EHR displays information in a logical manner consistent with your clinical workflow. Rearrange menus and tabs accordingly.
Create Specialty-Specific TemplatesDesign documentation templates around common diagnoses and visits specific to your practice specialty. This supports efficient clinical decision-making.

By aligning EHR configuration more closely with real-world care workflows, practitioners can provide care more intuitively and efficiently.

Optimize your clinical workflows effortlessly with Calysta EMR, automating manual processes and tailoring templates to your specialty for efficient decision-making

  1. Improving Data Quality through Standardization and Accuracy Checks

Incomplete or inaccurate data in EHRs can undermine care quality and hinder population health management. Some best practices include:

  • Define Data Standardization Protocols: Create standards for entering key data fields like medications, problems, procedures, and family history to ensure consistency.
  • Enable Clinical Decision Support: Integrate context-aware alerts that notify clinicians of potential errors or data inconsistencies at point of care to improve accuracy.
  • Audit Records and Provide User Feedback: Perform periodic audits to identify erroneous or missing data. Provide feedback to staff to continually improve data quality.

With robust protocols and validation measures, practices can tap into EHRs as a source of trustworthy clinical data and advanced analytics.

  1. Securing EHR Systems through Continuous Vigilance

Electronic health records (EHRs) contain highly sensitive and private patient information, making them a prime target for cyberattacks and data breaches. Medical practices must take proactive measures to safeguard EHR systems and patient data from unauthorized access, including multi-layered defense strategies like:

Access Controls

Implement role-based access controls to restrict EHR functionality and data access. Provide access on a need-to-know basis using the principle of least privilege. Regularly review user permissions and disable inactive accounts. Using strong passphrases instead of passwords provides another layer of protection.

Data Encryption

Leverage data encryption technologies to secure patient information in transit and at rest. Encrypt data whether it is moving over a network, sitting on servers or devices, or recorded on removable media. This helps safeguard data privacy if devices are lost or stolen.

Security Software

Install comprehensive security software such as antivirus, anti-malware, firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention systems (IDS/IPS), and data loss prevention (DLP) solutions. These provide layered cybersecurity monitoring and protection against threats like malware, ransomware, phishing attacks, and improper data exfiltration.

Ongoing Assessments

Conduct routine risk assessments to identify and address potential vulnerabilities in your EHR environment before they can be exploited. Assessments should cover the EHR application, network, endpoints, access controls, physical security, policies and procedures, training, and third-party connections.

Staff Training

Implement regular cybersecurity and privacy awareness training to keep employees up-to-date on the latest threats and organizational policies. Alert fatigued staff to watch for fraudulent emails, texts or phone calls asking for personal information.

Incident Response Planning

Develop a formal incident response plan for security breaches, including roles and responsibilities, communications protocols, and integration with law enforcement if necessary. Being prepared can help limit damages and expedite recovery.

By taking a proactive approach to EHR security through continuous risk analysis, training, system hardening and data protection, healthcare providers can better safeguard these critical information systems and the sensitive data they contain.

Protect your patients' sensitive data with Calysta EMR's robust security measures and proactive risk assessments for peace of mind

Innovating EHR Through AI and Wearables Integration

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EHR systems were not originally designed to harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and wearable devices. By integrating these emerging technologies, healthcare organizations can unlock new potentials to optimize EHRs, improve clinical workflows, and enable more proactive and personalized care models. 

Look to emerging technologies to unlock new possibilities for EHR optimization:

  1. Integrate AI for Clinical Decision Support

Incorporate natural language processing, deep learning, and predictive analytics algorithms that can analyze patient data from lab results, medical history, and other sources in the EHR. The algorithms provide real-time diagnostic and treatment recommendations to clinicians at the point of care to augment their decision-making. This AI support allows doctors to provide more evidenced-based, personalized care.

  1. Allow Patient Wearable Device Integration

Allow patients to sync data from consumer wearable devices like Fitbits, Apple Watches, glucose monitors and more to their personal health records. This provides doctors with more comprehensive, real-time data on the patient's lifestyle, biometrics, and health indicators outside the clinic. The additional holistic health data helps inform better care.

  1. Voice Recognition for Faster Documentation

Implement accurate voice recognition and transcription to allow doctors to narrate clinical notes, reports, and other documentation, reducing typing time. This saves physicians time on administrative work and improves documentation detail and quality as they can speak freely. Ensure proper AI training on medical terminology for reliable documentation.

  1. Telehealth and Virtual Assistants

Provide telehealth platforms for remote video visits, allowing patients to conveniently conduct appointments with their doctors online. Integrate virtual assistants like chatbots to automate administrative tasks for doctors and patients like appointment booking, prescription refills, medical bill payments and more. This improves access and efficiency.

  1. Patient Portals and Wearables for Engagement

Expand patient portals with features like customized health education resources, medication management tools, and secure messaging with physicians. Integrate wearable data into portals to give patients greater ownership over their health data. Improved portals and wearables boost patient engagement, satisfaction, medication adherence, and outcomes.

By embracing cutting-edge innovations, forward-thinking practices can chart an advanced path for the future of EHR systems.

Simplify Your EHR Workflows with Calysta

At Calysta EMR, our mission is to create intuitive software that simplifies EMR use for aesthetic medicine practices. Our specialty-specific EMR system and seamless workflows empower you to focus on delivering excellent aesthetic care while optimizing documentation, billing, scheduling, and more.

Book a demo today to learn how Calysta can help your practice succeed by moving beyond a basic EHR to an intelligent informatics platform. Our knowledgeable team is ready to answer your questions and get you on the path to elevating your EHR capabilities.

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