Time and time again, experts tell us that the best EHR implementation begins before a purchasing decision is made — by consulting the front-line clinicians who will be using the software, analyzing their workflow and addressing the pain points they identify in their daily routines.
The Needham, Mass.-based Healthcare Management Council Inc. (HMC) released preliminary results of an ongoing survey that asks nurses just what those pain points are. It offers hospitals undergoing an EHR implementation a few discussion-starters for their meetings between IT and nursing staff. Together, they can identify and eradicate workflow ineffieciencies with appropriate EHR systems.
So far, 61 nurses from 31 hospitals have weighed in, and here are the problems they identified. (Percentages in parentheses indicate the number of respondents who reported an issue as a problem):
- Charts and documentation (55%). Nurses complained of having to enter data twice into separate, incompatible systems, or of working with “hybrid,” paper/electronic workflows.
- Finding and gathering supplies and equipment (19%). Inventory utilization can be better optimized with EHR systems so nurses aren’t chasing down the items they need to administer care.
- Patient flow (15%). Nurses said waiting for — and sometimes admitting — patients was a major time-waster, as were availability (or lack thereof) of exam or treatment rooms, having to find and retrieve patients from other units, and having to locate beds for them when their own units had no available space.
- Physician interaction (15%). Nurses often wait for return phone calls; they find it challenging to gather data points, such as medication orders, discharge orders and care changes ordered after a physician makes rounds.
- Redundant and decentralized communication with families (11%). Patients’ family members call frequently and unexpectedly. Redundant communications result from the lack of a clear family spokesperson.
So far, the survey has included nurses from HMC partner hospitals. The organization told SearchHealthIT.com in an email that it plans to open it up to all nurses, regardless of affiliation. Are you a nurse and want to register your thoughts? Take the survey here.