Maximize EMR value, usability

Christopher Alban, MD, MBA, offers a series of questions emergency clinicians should consider if they want to optimize their EMR user experience:

  • Are you taking advantage of new features and functionality? Make sure you are using the most recent version of your EMR, and that most of the features are turned on.
  • Does your EMR automatically query outside systems so that you have the most up-to-date information? This can expedite treatment and improve patient safety.
  • Are you using the EMR in a way that reduces tasks that overwhelm physicians? Many documentation tasks can be completed during registration or by triage nurses.
  • Does your EMR prioritize patients by acuity, anticipate likely steps, and arrange what the caregiver needs?
  • Are your screens simplified? The system should be configured in a way that highlights important information and removes clutter.
  • Does your EMR make information capture easy? Are forms easily accessible and up-to-date, or can they be revised to improve patient flow?
  • Are physicians actively involved in the configuration and optimization of the system? Physicians who use the system regularly should have a strong voice.
  • Is the system fast? If not, it could be the hardware or the EMR, but advanced EMRs are designed to run smoothly even with thousands of concurrent users.
  • Does your EMR contain productivity dashboards to evaluate individual and department performance? These can be used to identify bottlenecks and users that may need additional training.
  • Is there a mobile option? This enables clinicians to complete tasks while on-the-go.