Archive August 2018 XIX, No. 8

Have You Tried EMRs Lately?

Going paperless isn't as painful as you might think. No, really.

Mike Morsch

Mike Morsch, Associate Editor


EASY READ EMRs let staff and surgeon access clinical data without having to constantly duplicate previous documentations.

Electronic medical records get a bad rap, don't they? Perhaps you're one of the naysayers who'd rather write with a pen than click with a mouse, assumes launching an EMR is more complicated than getting a rocket into orbit and believes staff who chart electronically spend more time staring at screens than caring for patients. The facility leaders we spoke to who recently went paperless debunked those common complaints and say newer EMRs are easy to set up, easy to use and easily one of the keys to more efficient patient care.

1. Customized fits

What works for the acute care hospital around the corner or the surgery center in the neighboring town likely won't fit the unique needs of your facility. Thankfully, the latest EMRs are customizable before the launch date and easily modified once they're up and running.

Shirley Torwirt, MHS, CASC, spent a lot of time looking for a system that would meet the needs of North Platte (Neb.) Surgery Center, where she's the administrator. Ms. Torwirt and her staff compared and investigated different models in search of a single platform that could handle the business office's practice management needs, accommodate anesthesia's clinical charting and document clinical data for cutting through the red tape of regulatory compliance and reporting. The product she ultimately chose met all those needs and could be adapted to match the way her staff charted in pre-op and the clinical care orders they were already using.

Being able to tailor an EMR to your facility's specific needs makes the system user-friendly and lets your staff focus on patients instead of paperwork. "What you hear a lot about implementing an EMR is that it's more time-consuming than paper charting and that it distracts from patient care," says Ms. Torwirt. "If you implement one the way we did, that's actually not the case."

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