The benefits that EHRs can bring to the collaborative performance of a care team are often overlooked. In fact, the basic functions and roles an EHR fills within a practice can be pivotal to enhancing cooperation and communication between team members. It’s worth taking a look at exactly how an EHR can improve your practice’s processes. We’ve rounded up 4 key ways that EHRs support team collaboration once they’re in place.
First, they act as a secure archive, containing all of the quality data needed by the healthcare team. Family and social history, vital signs, lab tests, all of the patient’s data is centralized in one location and readily accessible. The days of losing paper charts and reports are officially obsolete, greatly reducing the amount of human error in the record-keeping process and ensuring everyone is working in the same place.
Second, EHRs speed up the transmission of important messages from one team member to another. Messaging features within the EHR allow for quicker, more efficient communication to be directly attached to a patient’s chart, alerting other office members instantly to next steps in the care process. Additionally, task management tools streamline the delegation of tasks to each team member, funneling them to the appropriate person for completion.
Third, the EHR ensures the right person is completing the next action in a timely fashion through notifications and alerts. Most EHRs can be set to alert all staff members instantly to a patient’s status in the clinic. After check in, the next alert lets staff know the patient is ready to be shown to an exam room, and once an exam room lights up, the provider instantly knows the patient is ready to be seen. The timing and flow of the patient’s journey throughout the clinic is streamlined, automated, and immediately recognizable.
Finally, an EHR can redefine team roles and structure the office flow to maximize productivity. For example, the ability to create templates within an EHR for symptom-specific data collection eases the burden on the physician by allowing MA’s, RN’s and LPN’s to gather information before the provider enters the exam room. Or, clerical staff can enroll patients in a patient portal at check in, helping to demonstrate meaningful use activities for reporting purposes.
Put together, these core functions drastically improve the ability of medical professionals to work together to improve the patient experience and help the practice succeed. But there are ways to amplify these benefits even further.
Your EHR should be able to adapt to your specific practice’s communication preferences and workflows with customization options. For example, Exscribe’s one-click treatment protocols can be set to save a provider’s preferred treatment plan for a specific ailment. And integrations with appointment reminder systems and telemedicine software increase the reach of an EHR’s communication capabilities, improving access to quality care and communication between team members and the patient.