December 11, 2023

9 EMR Changes to Save Valuable Hours

Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems have significantly transformed how the healthcare sector manages medical data. This technology has revolutionized the way healthcare professionals store, access, and share patient information, making it more efficient and accessible than ever before.

However, alongside EHR systems' remarkable benefits, there is another side to the coin. They have placed a considerable burden on the shoulders of the physician community. With the widespread adoption of EHRs, physicians now deal with a substantial increase in the volume of clinical information they must address daily.

A recent study revealed that, on average, physicians spent 16 minutes and 14 seconds per patient encounter using EHRs, dedicating time to tasks such as chart review (33%), documentation (24%), and ordering (17%). So, if a physician sees an average of 20 patients daily, this translates to about 5 hours of EHR-related work in a day.

Furthermore, EHR-using physicians spend nearly 2 hours daily on after-hours documentation, significantly longer than those not using EHR.

Nevertheless, investing just five minutes to tweak your EMR setup can unlock an extra hour or two of daily productivity. Let's explore the steps to reclaim your valuable time.

9 Time-Saving Strategies for EMR Systems

Electronic Health Records play a substantial role in a physician's daily workload, often with tasks that do not necessarily require the expertise of an MD or DO. Moreover, some of these tasks do not directly enhance patient care and can be removed entirely.

The American Medical Association (AMA) has created a de-implementation checklist that identifies processes and requirements in EHR usage, which, when addressed, can reduce the administrative load on healthcare providers and contribute to more efficient and patient-centered care.

Here are 9 steps to alleviate physicians' burnout, allowing them to focus more on patient care and less on administrative tasks.

1.    Reduce Email Notifications

Physicians find themselves swamped with inbox notifications regarding test results ordered by other healthcare providers (especially for shared patients). These notifications place unnecessary burdens on physicians.

Take control of these notifications with these strategies:

  • Stop alerts for incomplete or unrelated tests — Skip the unnecessary notifications, especially when test results aren't yet available or weren't ordered by the relevant physician.
  • Avoid self-generated report notifications — Turn off notifications for reports generated by the recipient.
  • Minimize duplicate alerts — Eliminate redundant notifications for the same test results or consultation notes.
  • Automate patient portal updates — Set up automatic updates on the patient portals. This way, patients will receive clear explanations and standard and abnormal test results without extra effort from the physician.

2.    Minimize Pop-up Alerts

Alert systems are pivotal in notifying healthcare providers about a wide range of events; some are directly related to clinical patient care, while others are more administrative or non-clinical. To ensure these alert systems serve their purpose efficiently and do not overwhelm healthcare professionals, retaining only those alerts with a proven favorable cost-benefit ratio is vital.

For example, medication alerts in EHR systems are crucial for patient safety. In contrast, non-clinical alerts related to hospital operations can lead to "alert fatigue" if not managed properly. To tackle this, prioritize alerts based on their significance. By retaining only the essential alerts, healthcare providers can concentrate on ensuring patient safety without being overwhelmed by less critical notifications, ultimately saving time and preventing alert fatigue.

3.    Make Login Easier

Simplify the process of logging into your EHR system. You can enable features like biometric recognition (fingerprint or facial) or single sign-on to reduce the time and effort it takes to access your patient records, ultimately leading to less hassle and quicker access to the needed information.

4.    Keep Logged In Longer

Customize your system's auto-logout settings. For example, if you're a physician who frequently spends 20-30 minutes in an exam room with a patient, you can set the system to keep you logged in for that duration so you're not repeatedly logging in during your rounds.

5.    Simplify Password Tasks

Password reset requests can be frustrating. Reduce the frequency of password changes and updates. Just like how you'd prefer not to constantly change your home Wi-Fi password, extending the intervals between password reset saves time. Additionally, consider using password-keeper programs for added convenience and enhanced security.

6.    Simplify Ordering Steps

Imagine a one-click ordering process instead of navigating numerous screens and forms when ordering tests. Reduce the need to input extensive clinical data before placing an order. If you've previously entered a patient's details, the system should automatically recall them for subsequent orders. By simplifying this process, you can improve efficiency and require fewer steps for order completion.

7.    Eliminate Password Revalidation

Just as you don't need to repeatedly enter your login credentials when sending emails, the same convenience can be applied to specific prescription orders in your EHR. Customize your EHR to eliminate needing to re-enter your username and password while logged in. This simplification reduces redundancy and speeds up the workflow.

8.    Cut Down on Note Overload

Streamline your patient notes by removing unnecessary links and data that may contribute to "note bloat." This practice ensures that your documentation remains concise, relevant, and valuable for clinical purposes.

9.    Streamline Order-Entry Procedures

Make your life easier by embracing automation. Allow the system to automatically populate routine details, such as filling in standard information when the patient's data is already in the EHR. This process streamlines the order-entry process and significantly reduces the need for manual data entry, ultimately saving you valuable time.

Amplify Efficiency and Reclaim Valuable Hours with GlaceEMR

Time is precious. Every minute spent wisely can make a significant difference in patient care and the overall well-being of physicians. But physicians often find themselves grappling with limited time, with EMR systems emerging as both a vital tool and a time-consuming adversary. Fortunately, a few strategic adjustments within your EMR system can significantly transform your healthcare practice's efficiency. These modifications yield precious hours, benefiting both healthcare providers and staff, ultimately enhancing the quality of patient care. 

Glenwood's GlaceEMR, in particular, is designed to minimize the time spent reviewing and documenting patient data. Every feature is crafted to reduce time and clicks while offering pertinent information for decision-making. The documentation process becomes effortless with custom templates, pre-filled reusable templates, shortcuts, and order sets.

What sets GlaceEMR apart is its range of specialty-specific templates that can be further customized to suit your unique practice needs. Furthermore, it seamlessly integrates clinical data from various sources such as faxes, labs, medical devices, and other providers, providing a comprehensive view to facilitate informed decision-making.

Are you ready to transform your private practice? Book a demo today to discover how GlaceEMR and GlaceRCM can revolutionize your healthcare workflows and save you valuable daily hours. Your journey toward enhanced efficiency and patient-centered care begins here.

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