What Can Physicians Do to Stop Spending Too Much Time on Their EHR?

While EHRs are a boon for physicians with benefits such as better management of patient records and availability of complete information at the point of care as well as secure sharing of electronic information with patients and other clinicians, there are several EHR issues that hinder their clinical workflows. The major problem is that physicians spending too much time on EHR data entry than on patient care. Reliable companies offering medical transcription services integrated with EHR systems can minimize such issues and support physicians with their documentation tasks.

What Can Physicians Do to Stop Spending Too Much Time on Their EHR?

A new research study published in Family Medicine found that primary care physicians spend more time working on their EHR than in face-to-face time with patients during clinic visits. Based on an observational study of family physician residents and ambulatory patients across 982 clinic visits, it was found that family physicians spend about 18.6 minutes on clinical documentation in the EHR, but only about 16.5 minutes on face-to-face interaction with patients.

As a solution to this frustrating situation, Martin Pricco, MD, MBA, an internist and president of Gould Medical Group in Modesto, California suggests (in an article in Medical Economics)certain changes that can be implemented to reduce the physician’s frustration with the system. He shared his experience at the 2018 Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference held in Las Vegas.

The changes suggested include:

Save time, make your password process simple – Physicians must make sure not to spend their time typing passwords each time they enter a new room. To save this time, it is recommended to provide a proximity password device, or use other technology solutions. You can also use charts in the EHR that show exactly where physician time is being spent in the software. For practices with multiple physicians, results can be compared to check their efficiency. Share best practices to improve everyone’s efficiency.

Invest time in training- As EHR systems often have features that physicians may not even be aware of, it is critical for hospitals to provide comprehensive training for both doctors and other staff.EHR training strategies include super-user training that combines specialized EHR training with training on how the EHR will be used in your organization for your specific workflow and patient population, role-based training that focuses on how each staff group will be using the EHR system and design training sessions that will best suit their needs, and process-based training that will help your staff understand the new workflows. Pricco recommends a minimum of six hours of on-boarding training for physicians, four hours in the classroom and a week of having a trainer spending one-on-one time with them.

Also, provide physicians and administrative staff with routine security awareness training that cover best practices to avoid phishing attempts and unauthorized access. Charts in EHRs are a good way to measure the effect of training or other changes.

Customize the EHR based on physician requirements- Customize the desktop view of EHR for each physician, which helps them find what they need exactly. Avoid tabs or other information they do not need. Also, arrange the software in such a way that it suits their needs. Not all physicians use the same documentation methods. While some create notes using voice recognition, which a medical transcription company will transcribe later, others may use scribes, templates, remote scribes, or even a combination of the above.

Get more innovative- Hospitals can save their physicians’ valuable time by creating a medical record review process, as physicians often waste too much time reviewing or approving items. Assign a member of the staff to review reports before they are sent to a physician. Also, consider installing a printer in each exam room, to avoid physicians spending time walking back and forth printing out information from the EHR.