Every practice is different. Every patient is different. And yet the healthcare tech industry tries to apply the same few solutions to every practice, provider and patient. This issue presents itself in a few different ways but for the sake of our readers (and myself as a writer) we’ll just focus on and discuss one: EHR workflows.
It’s 2017. We exist in the age of technological innovation. And yet some tech companies are still trying to limit solutions to out-of-the-box. We get it – there’s higher revenue margins. It reduces overhead. In theory, it should be easier and quicker to implement. And yet…
Technological innovation could make healthcare more affordable by providing solutions that are adaptable, extendable, configurable and customizable.
For example, we work with a series of pediatric clinics that provide urgent care and primary care services in the Baltimore area. Their Managing Director wanted the EHR to support patient care, prevent physician burnout and streamline the business side of his practice. His workflow needed (and does) to seamlessly support the entire office – both the urgent care and primary care patients. The workflow for these clinics was created with scalability in mind. In their time using blueEHR, the practice added yet another location, taking their total from 3 to 4 in a short time. The system is easily understood by staff, reducing overhead time spent on training and is designed in a way that significantly reduces burnout and fatigue. For this particular client and workflow, blueEHR prompts office staff when transitioning a patient into the practice, suggests care plans based on diagnoses, reminds staff of certain key operating procedures.
Conversely, we work with a consulting practice that manages technology for several different pain management centers. Our client acts in the same capacity as a CTO or CIO – he comes into these practices to set up processes and procedures that meet government requirements for electronic health records management. Pain management centers deal with multiple times of insurance – auto accident insurance, worker’s compensation and personal insurance, for example. blueEHR prompts the office staff and doctors with the specific requirements for each type of insurance, as appropriate. The system also allows for a workflow that enhances the standard operating procedures of each clinic, improving their efficiency and effectiveness.
In 2017, there is no excuse for technology not to meet our needs. If we can download and delete certain application on our phones to match what we personally want, we should be able to apply the same concept to healthcare IT. The tool should fit the practice. You don’t use a hammer to screw in a nail.
An EHR should be able to adapt as a practice grows and changes. It should be able to extend beyond medical records to include other aspects of business and it should be fully configurable to fit each individual practice.