Are You Just a Few Tweaks Away From an EHR or Workflow That Your Staff Loves?

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Tuesday, 24 September 2013 14:27

As leaders in our organizations we walk a fine line on what is not only best for our staff but also what is best for our patients and the company as a whole. Studies have shown that employee satisfaction greatly reflects on patient satisfaction and productivity, especially in a clinical environment. We use new processes and technologies to improve workflow and increase productivity. Let’s make sure these ‘advancements’ are not doing more harm than good.

In this article we’re going to take a look at how technology and workflow can improve staff satisfaction. First, let’s start with Electronic Health Records (EHR). EHRs improve workflow, reduce medical errors and ultimately provide better patient care but EHR system errors can be both time consuming and frustrating for you, your staff and the patient. How can you anticipate and prevent these errors before they start? Most EHR errors are a result of user errors which can be reduced and even prevented by proper training. Struggling to learn a new system and still complete their existing workload can be stressful but a little extra time spent on training in the beginning goes a long way. Proper training for your staff in the beginning ensures they will be comfortable using this new system and find the transition less frustrating. Your EHR provider should also provide ongoing support to answer any questions that you and your team may have, resolve any system errors and provide this support in a timely manner.

If you are thinking about implementing an EHR but haven’t done so yet take a few moments to review the EHR user satisfaction survey provided by Nebraska Academy of Family Physicians at http://nebrafp.org/media/publications.htm. You can use this survey to see how your colleagues, physicians and staff felt about their EHRs and which systems had the best user satisfaction and in what areas such as the support provided by their EHR provider and how easy it was to learn the system.

Already have an EHR? Why not implement your own EHR survey within your organization and see which areas are working for your staff and which areas have room for improvement. This will not only let your staff know that you want to address their concerns but also lets them know that you recognize the areas that need improvement and you are working towards a solution. Take the survey results and involve your EHR provider to make changes where needed. What else can you do to improve your staff’s outlook on EHR use? Make it mobile! Many EHRs are now cloud based so you can safely access your EHR via iPads, tablets and smartphones. Help your staff save valuable time but providing them access to the EHR when they need it, now.

EHRs are driven by your workflow which, let’s face it,  often has room for improvement. Let’s look at ways to improve your workflow. You should begin with a workflow analysis using direct observation to determine your teams’ strengths and identify areas for improvement. Initiate a recurring rounding program with your staff to ensure you are meeting their needs as a leader and your staff is meeting the needs of their department and organization. Companies, such as Studer Group, offer programs to improve quality of care, finances and staff engagement. This produces significant reductions in employee turnover. High turnover rates result in exceptional expenses and time recruiting and training replacement staff. Costs show up to $200K for a critical care nurse. Staff retention allows you to allocate finances for sustainability areas of improvement.

Don’t have the funds available to hire a third-party programs? Try using a free online survey tool such as SurveyMonkey to create your own survey for your staff. Anonymous surveys give your staff a chance to speak up about what is bothering them, report areas for improvement and suggest changes to workflow without worrying about how their feedback will reflect on them.

I cannot stress enough the importance of ensuring your staffs’ happiness and ensuring technology is a helpful tool and not an added stress factor. Take a close look at your EHR, Patient Portals and workflow to find areas for improvement. Then be sure to act on these improvements. Truth of the matter is, you can’t make everyone happy, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying.

~ Danielle French

For more information on EHRs:

http://coretechrevolution.com/latest-news/136-tips-for-successful-ehr-adoption

For more information on SurveyMonkey:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/