EMR Implementation Challenges: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals
Electronic medical records (EMRs) aim to simplify and streamline your hospital’s ability to diagnose and treat patients. Technically, EMR systems hold a digital copy of the patient’s charts collected individually by your hospital. Unlike electronic health records (EHRs), you cannot send EMRs to other healthcare providers.
EHRs have a robust record-keeping capability, hence making EMRs redundant. America first created the EMR system in 1972. Back then, it was a welcomed advancement in medical practice. However, research suggests that EMRs miss the intended level of personalization and efficiency.
Even then, EMR interfaces are perfect for small healthcare facilities. These institutes can use EMR systems to schedule patient visits, manage payment gateways, and process insurance. In this blog, we will discuss EMR implementation challenges and more.
What Are the Challenges of Implementing EMR Systems?
EMRs help streamline various caregiving processes to offer a positive patient experience. However, some circumstances might be beyond you and your staff’s control.
For instance, the challenges faced while implementing and using EMR systems include:
- Lack of usability and technical ability or know-how
- An increased cost of implementation
- Training your staff for seamless integration
- Ensuring data security and quality
You can overcome these challenges with the following tactics:
- Convert patient data into an in-house format
- Start training and demonstrating EMR to employees on a day-to-day basis
- Focus on security protocols and HIPAA guidelines
- Employ technical support to help maintain data quality
- Consider license, software, and service costs before EMR integration
3 Main Types of EMR Systems
According to Psyquel, an EMR system helps mitigate workflow disruptions and ensure accurate reports. With it, your staff will reduce the time spent entering patient information. It usually comes with a patient and provider portal with billing tools and report functionality. Additionally, the automated EMR features will make the data-entry processes less complicated.
However, your hospital will reap EMR benefits only if you implement the right one. The main types of EMR software to choose from are:
#1. Mental Health EMR Systems
A mental health EMR service is a specialty-specific solution for mental health providers and psychiatric clinics. With it, you can quickly access digital notes and manage patients’ mental health. Furthermore, this EMR tool has telehealth, scheduling, and 24/7 service capabilities.
These come with pre-configured workflows and templates. Therefore, you can tailor the EMR software to your hospital’s needs.
#2. Cloud-Based and Server-Based EMR Systems
Healthcare professionals believe cloud-based EMR systems are better than server-based or on-premise ones. The latter runs on your hospital’s server, while the former can be accessed online. Server-based systems have a higher risk of failure and data loss in the event of hardware damage.
Whereas cloud-based systems have patient information stored ‘in the cloud.’ That means you will not lose patient data in the event of EMR hardware damage.
#3. Hybrid EMR Systems
These services are a combination of acute care and ambulatory EMRs. The latter focuses on outpatient facilities like specialty clinics. With it, you can support outpatient care like scheduling, registration, and clinical documentation.
Similarly, acute care EMR systems focus on inpatient care facilities. It has real-time patient medical record tracking and complex medical data management features.
How Do EMRs Affect Patient Care?
New EMR systems can indeed benefit your hospital’s overall workflow. It instantly reduces data errors and increases employee efficiency. However, EMRs can help you gain patient satisfaction only if your staff helps foster a better experience.
Healthcare professionals must follow these tactics to offer better care with EMRs:
#1. Transparency While Communicating
Once you implement EMRs, the doctor and the nurse are expected to stare at a computer screen for prolonged periods. Sometimes, they might do that while being face-to-face with a patient to determine their prognosis. Hence, healthcare professionals might be too engrossed in the EMRs to focus on the patient’s needs.
It can reduce the patient’s trust in their doctor and nurse. That is why all healthcare professionals must use verbal queues and maintain eye contact when face-to-face with the patient. Studies show that facial gaze influences patient’s trust in healthcare professionals. Hence, your team must focus on transparency while communicating with the patient.
#2. Address Your Staff’s Burnout
EMRs can improve the quality of care your hospital provides. However, using EMR systems daily can be an additional burden for healthcare professionals. It could be especially problematic if you have recently introduced such a system. Both nurses and doctors have an immense workload.
Therefore, the EMR data entry duty can increase the risk of burnout. As a result, the quality of care will decrease as your staff struggles to cope with the burden. Sometimes, the doctors and nurses might offer improper care to a patient, leading to health complications. Hence, you must address burnout and efficiently train the staff about EMR systems.
The Bottom Line
With an EMR system, hospitals can track patient data over time and identify diagnoses. The healthcare specialists check real-time information about a patient’s routine checkups and preventive screenings. You can also follow up with patients to monitor their health.
Additionally, EMRs can help you monitor and improve your patient’s quality of life. The only disadvantage is that EMRs do not travel outside the practice. Even then, the EMR market will rise at a 6.2% CAGR. By 2033, the industry might reach a valuation of USD 32.3 billion. The industry is gaining momentum due to artificial intelligence (AI) and automation. Small healthcare institutions will benefit from automated EMR systems, better integrations, and enhanced accuracy.