- 1 The Fundamentals of EHR User Experience (UX)
- 1.1 Introduction
- 1.2 Fundamental #1: Functionality
- 1.2.1 EHR Certification
- 1.2.2 Another factor to consider about functionality is whether your EHR is government certified. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services explain that using a certified EHR provides “assurance to purchasers and other users that an EHR system or module offers the necessary technological capability, functionality, and security.” In essence, a certified system automatically satisfies many of your EHR needs. If you’re choosing a certified EHR, you need to know if the certification is modular (where some EHR components are certified) or complete (where all EHR components are certified). This factor is essential when demonstrating Meaningful Use. Because, a modular system will require the use of 1 or more 3rd party programs, whereas a complete system will not. So the one that is best for you is based solely on what type of functions you want and need for your chiropractic practice. Additionally, you’ll want to verify that the EHR is HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliant. This criterion ensures all data is adequately secure and legally protected.
- 1.2.3 Integrated Applications
- 1.2.4 EHR functionality is also affected by the system’s ability to interact with your other office-related equipment and programs. Ideally, when it comes to integration and interaction, you want an EHR that is capable of communicating directly with the diagnostic tools you use (enabling you to update patient records easily) as well as your clearing houses (for easier claims processing). It’s also helpful to select a system that enables both office staff and patients to log in securely, gaining access to the information each one is entitled. These functions can save both you and your staff a tremendous amount of time because you only have to input information once. Additionally, you minimize data entry errors when there is no need to enter duplicate data in multiple places or multiple programs. As ungerboek.com reports the average error rate with manual data entry is roughly one percent (or one error for every 100 pieces of data entered).
- 1.2.5 Automated Functions
- 1.2.6 Finally, any EHR that uses automated tasks will significantly improve its functionality at the same time reducing the risk of data errors. Examples of EHR automation include linking SOAP notes to billing, automating fees for covered and non-covered services (based on the individual insurance companies), calculating coinsurance and deductible charges up front, auto-posting insurance claims, and creating automatic treatment protocols. The simple reason for automation is the less a person has to do manually, the higher the productivity. In fact, one case study involving 369 university library employees found that automation helped them “complete tasks faster, reduced work repetitiveness and enabled them to control tasks at hand.” Just think of the money you’d save if your staff were able to get more done in less time. Fundamental #2: Adoptability The second fundamental of the EHR user experience is adaptability. This concept refers to selecting an EHR system that is super easy to set up. Consider these three factors before purchasing; the ease of installation, the speed of setup, and the quality of training. In other words, you want a system that makes it easy to start using and has a low learning curve.
- 1.2.7 Ease of Installation
- 1.2.8 Ease of installation refers to how easy the software and subsequent updates are to download, and whether the download process itself is simple to follow. By choosing an EHR that offers ease and simplicity in these areas, you can save yourself and your staff a lot of frustration. Additionally, ask if installation covers one computer or multiple PCs. Obviously, you want to have the convenience of accessing your data from a variety of locations within the office. In this case, you would need a local area network where all office computers would access the same data on one computer. For example, your main front desk computer would connect to kiosks within your reception area and workstations within your treatment rooms. This setup enables you to have access to the most current patient information before treatment so you can provide better care. It also gives you the opportunity to enter the most detailed information during the session itself, which is essential for billing purposes as well as for documenting the treatment for reference at future patient sessions.
- 1.2.9 Speed of Setup
- 1.2.10 Adoptability is not only affected by the speed in which you’re able to start entering data for new patients but whether or not the EHR can import information from your existing patient records. If it doesn’t have this ability, you could spend costly time and money manually. For instance, if your chiropractic office has records on 1,000 patients and the system doesn’t automatically transfer information from your existing system, even if your staff is extremely quick and can manually enter the information within 15 minutes per patient record, that is still 15,000 minutes total, or 250 hours of time—time that you’ll have to pay for solely because you didn’t select an EHR that could take care of this for you.
- 1.2.11 Access to Learning Resources
- 1.2.12 A third factor to consider when it comes to adoptability is whether the EHR system comes with access to the resources you need to use and understand the system. The most notable resource to consider is one-on-one training as this provides you and your staff the opportunity to learn the system with someone guiding you every step of the way. This particular approach offers the most significant value according to one study published in AMIA Annual Symposium Proceedings Archive. In this case, after surveying 129 clinicians, researchers found that “improvement in the use of electronic medical record was greatest following one-one-one training.” Other learning resources that are helpful when utilizing a new EHR system include those that are accessible online. These types of learning tools allow the user to access information from any location at any time with the most current and up-to-date information. The online resources to look for about your EHR are: Online tutorial videos Online support forums Searchable online owner’s manual When you have access to these kinds of resources, you’ll always have answers to your EHR questions right at your fingertips with a simple click of the mouse. Fundamental #3: Usability Usability is the third fundamental of the EHR user experience, and it relates to how well the EHR system operates. The four areas that cover usability are ease of navigation, intuitive workflow, responsiveness interface, and visual design.
- 1.2.13 Ease of Navigation
- 1.2.14 Intuitive Work Flow
- 1.2.15 Responsiveness Interface
- 1.2.16 Visual Design
- 1.3 Fundamental #4: Customizability
- 1.4 Putting It All Together
The use of electronic health record (EHR) systems have consistently been on the rise. In fact, in recent years, the number of in-office healthcare professionals using EHRs increased from a minimum 20.8 percent to an impressive 82.8 percent according to statistics provided by The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). Additionally, the use of electronic systems is projected to continue to grow, with Healthcare IT News indicating that this market alone will increase at a rate of 7-8 percent (or by $35.2 billion) by the year 2019.
These numbers are particularly impressive considering that some studies have also found that two out of every three chiropractors still don’t have an EHR system in place. These figures also indicate that the chiropractic profession is falling behind in a healthcare industry that is increasingly moving from paper to electronic records. And the growing demand for this is the need for more efficient and effective healthcare management.
Indeed, there are many different EHR systems available, making it difficult to select the best one for your chiropractic practice. But whether you’re purchasing an EHR for the first time or you currently have an EHR, and you’re looking to update it or switch to a newer, better system, there are four elements you’ll want to consider before making your final buying decision.
This guide intends to go through each one more thoroughly, providing you with the information you need to help you select the best EHR system for your specific chiropractic office.
With that in mind, let’s look at what each area means and how it can impact your office by choosing an EHR that meets specific guidelines within it.
Fundamental #1: Functionality
When talking about the functionality of an EHR, the big question you want to answer is: Does it work as it should? In other words, is the EHR going to provide you with all of the essential functions to run your office?
To best answer these questions, you’ll want to think of whether it offers integrated practice management, certification, 3rd party software integration, and automation—four primary factors of a functional EHR system. Let’s begin with discussing integrated practice management.
Integrated Practice Managemnt
Integrated Practice Management refers to the system’s ability to manage multiple functions within your chiropractic office. GetApp, a company specializing in business-related software, explains that using all-in-one solutions like integrated practice management functions offers many benefits.
For instance, you don’t have to switch between different programs, windows, or browsers just to complete one function and all functions work together in a more seamless process. They also point out that you’ll likely “spend less using an all-in-one solution,” than purchasing and updating individual programs.
At a minimum, an EHR needs the capability of handling all of the following functions:
- Patient scheduling (including sending reminders, alerts, and messages)
- Patient sign-in kiosk
- Patient billing and claims processing
- Patient portal accessibility
- The ability to run business-related reports and statistics
- Marketing capabilities
- Inventory control
Also, keep in mind that, as your practice continues to grow, you’ll want an practice management system that will adapt. Even if you do not need for some of these functions now, you may anticipate them in the future. The last thing you want in a busy office is to switch to a more complex EHR system.