Physicians are increasingly feeling the pressure to adopt an electronic medical record. Some look forward to it with the goal in mind that it’ll allow them to have more timely access to accurate information and better decision support. However, some are threatened to plunge into the unknown and interrupt the daily routines they’ve honed over their many years in practice. Kemp Stephens, Bizmatics VP of Sales, believes this fear is brought on by the fact that many EMRs expect users to adopt all features within a certain short period of time.

Stephens offers these handy stress-reducing steps to ramping up before going live:

Choose 3 New Patient candidates from tomorrow’s schedule:

This sets a nice limit so that you don’t have to stress out. Continue working with all other patients the way you always have. Your chosen EMR may have other “easy yet useful” features to consider using first, but the idea is to just practice and build up your confidence with your 3 candidate patients until you feel comfortable.

Start using features that are both easy and useful to you:

  • Scanning/Faxing: Most EMRs have the capability to allow scanning of paper and receiving of digital faxes. Let your staff get used to categorizing and attaching these new, incoming documents into patient’s charts, such as labs, radiology and consult letters. At the same time, they will also be able to notify you with a message in your in-box – get used to reviewing these documents in your in-box as well as learning how to retrieve them directly from a patient’s EMR chart.
  • Communication: Practice taking phone messages, sending and replying to internal messages between you and your staff, using the internal email that your EMR provides.
  • Electronic Results: If electronic results from labs and radiology facilities are available to be turned on, do so and test them before you “go-live”.
  • E-Prescribing: Get familiar with sending e-prescriptions and processing refill requests.
  • Basic Documentation: Don’t get slowed down by unfamiliar templates. Most EMRs should allow you to breeze through the ROS and physical exam with minimum mouse clicks. For the more subjective areas such as HPI, or your assessment and plan, be prepared to try out your handwriting recognition, voice recognition or typing, until you become familiar with or have customized the templates to your liking.
  • Choose ICDs and CPTs: Consider very minimal documentation – or skipping it entirely – by simply choosing the appropriate ICD and CPTs from your EMR’s electronic charge slip and then close your visit. Your biller should immediately see the charges, quickly approve and then submit as a claim.

Building confidence from the beginning with your EMR, in a non-stressful way through these essential features, is vitally important for your implementation.

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