It has been observed that the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) across hospitals has reached more than 90% whereas the adoption of EHRs in ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) is not even 10%. It is estimated that a less percentage of ASCs that are hospital owned or affiliated, use the hospital EHRs. The reason for such a low percentage of adoption of EHRs among the ASCs is the incompatibility of features between EHR systems of hospitals and ASCs. It can be clearly seen from the experiences of several hospitals and other healthcare settings that the adoption of the EHRs has not been an easy task and every facility has its own challenges.
Many physicians also are apprehensive about adopting EHR solutions because they feel if anything goes wrong in the implementation, it will impede their routine work instead of improving the pace and quality of work. However, the truth the physicians need to understand is that when the right EHR system is adopted, it aids in improving clinical outputs and reducing the physician burnout. To get this kind of results, it essential that ASCs adopt the right system with a few fundamental features that enhance the quality of care provided. Here are the few key features that ASCs should look for in the EHRs before implementing them.
- Flexibility in workflow: The operational efficiency of the ASCs depends on the clinical workflow and the EHRs adopted should enhance the workflow but not hinder it. To get this operational efficiency it is necessary that the EHR systems adopted by the ASCs should be developed considering their operations and workflow. The EHRs designed for the hospitals and other healthcare facilities are optimized for those settings and they may not cater to the needs of ASCs. It is important to note that the one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work for the EHRs for different settings. Hence, EHRs chosen for the ASCs should be designed flexibly to accommodate the setting’s unique workflow and requirements.
- Availability of customized views: For physicians, there is nothing more frustrating than to browse through pages of irrelevant information. To eliminate this problem the EHRs should be designed with customized views that show only relevant information to the users. With customized views, surgeons will be able to access the information they require quickly without flipping through unnecessary information. Likewise, nurses and other staff will see only information that they require to perform their tasks efficiently.
- Multiple users’ access: One of the biggest disadvantages of the paper charting system was identifying the location of the chart as to which person was in possession. This kind of problem can arise again even when using EHRs if the system enables only a single person’s access at a point of time. However, this issue can be resolved easily by including the concurrent charting in the EHR solutions implemented. With concurrent charting, multiple users can access the same patient’s chart at the same time.
When the best EHR solutions are implemented, they facilitate smooth and efficient clinical workflow resulting in better patient outcomes and improved financial results for the ASCs.