"After years of frustrations, user wish-list turns positive." The headline from this year's EHR Satisfaction Survey suggests improvements in attitude and satisfaction toward hospital EHRs, yet the underlying challenges for CIOs and clinicians still haven't changed very much.
According to the Healthcare IT News 2017 EHR Satisfaction Survey, users want more flexible EHR interoperability, especially with clinical software systems and other applications. This is similar to survey responses from 2016, which means that we still have a way to go, but I believe it is possible.
Keep reading, and I'll give recommendations about how to approach your challenges and tell you how one group of hospitals already solved theirs.
Some comments from the survey about what users still want, as reported by Healthcare IT News, included:
"More interoperability over just integration" and "interoperability with other apps outside the EHR vendor's own modules."
While the survey showed that in general, respondents gave good scores for their overall EHR system, there is still room for improvement in the areas of interoperability, security, and modular features.
Respondents said they wanted "greater flexibility and accomodation of team-based care" and "much better data extraction."
These results aren't very surprising to me. I talk to CIOs and clinicians every day, and they all basically tell me the same thing. What they really want is access to all of their patients' data, so care teams can make informed decisions and provide better patient care.
We recently implemented a solution, called FlexButtonTM, for 15 hospitals in Maryland, to provide specific patient HIE data within their EHR workflow. Doing this accomplishes what the survey respondents said they wanted — better interoperability between apps outside of the EHR vendor's modules, accommodation of team-based care, and much better data extraction.
To hear what one of the 15 hospitals is saying about how FlexButton is helping their clinicians and patients, check out this video.
There are many other examples that I could share of providing clinicians access to important patient data, but each hospital has a different need, as I'm sure you do, too.
In terms of meeting your hospital's specific needs, it's important to identify the biggest challenges in your organization, and work to implement solutions to address those first.
Some questions to ask yourself:
1. What systems do your clinicians go to on a regular basis, taking extra time and effort to leave the EHR and search for patient data? This could be a place to start prioritizing efforts.
2. Do clinicians often avoid retrieving patient data from other systems because doing so is too cumbersome and time-consuming? Again, this may be a good place to start prioritizing which systems to integrate with your EHR.
3. Do you know how often your clinicians access your state HIE to get crucial patient data while they care for a patient? We've talked to clinicians that say they don't do this because they have no way of knowing if any valuable patient data is available in their HIE, yet studies show that accessing the HIE can save money and improve outcomes.
4. Ask your clinicians — they will let you know their top challenges!
We've helped lots of hospitals in all of these scenarios, so clinicians can have access to all the patient data they need. I'm sure that you can come up with several other scenarios, too.
Here are a few short videos that show how we've helped some hospitals easily access patient data in other systems.
The possibilities are really endless for which systems and scenarios can be solved in this way. I'd love to hear about your particular challenges.
If you want to see these or other scenarios live and get your questions answered, you can register for the upcoming live webinar "Improve Clinical Workflows with FlexButton" on November 16th at 2:00 p.m. ET.