Doctors face huge pressure to be efficient during patient consultations, often less than 10 minutes each. Navigating a new electronic patient record (EPR)* system can strain that precious time and leave clinicians feeling frustrated.
Over the years, I’ve seen organisations take some successful approaches to alleviate this pressure by continued clinical engagement beyond deployment. Here are just a few examples:
1) Proactive super-users
The concept is to have identifiable experts ready to help beyond the initial go live. Some wear badges that encourage people to “Ask Me.” The key is to find proactive people who seek out users needing help and offer assistance
2) Ongoing, open house training options
Users have a threshold for how much information they can retain from their initial training. Beyond deployment, organisations should offer regular opportunities for clinicians to drop in to ask questions and learn or “re-learn” about new functionalities. Sometimes it works best to piggyback on existing meetings or training to demonstrate a “Top Tip.”
3) Optimisation as quantity of data grows
An organisation’s needs change over time, which is why an expert-led Optimisation Review is most effective after six to nine months of system use. For example, one of our clients successfully went live with a full EPR. But after several months of adding data, clinicians were having trouble finding the data most crucial to them. An expert review highlighted a number of key configuration opportunities to facilitate filtering and document search. After training on filtering and use of summary screens clinicians can now quickly find the most relevant information.
4) Transparent governance
Once clinicians actively use the system, there will inevitably be multiple requests for EPR enhancement. Most organisations have a clinical assessment team to prioritise optimisation efforts. Transparent processes, that anyone can participate in, build stronger clinical engagement.
5) Clinical Performance Manager (CPM) reports
These reports show which functionalities are being well used, and which ones are not. For example, they can identify when clinicians are still ordering certain tests individually instead of using an evidence-based, best-practice order set. CPM reports provide useful data for amending configuration and helping to pinpoint what will make data entry more efficient.
Clinical engagement can be challenging because the effort and payback is not always tangible, and it’s never finished. But organisations that make it a priority will be rewarded with stronger adoption, more comprehensive clinical transformation and better patient outcomes.
* Editor's note: Electronic Patient Record (EPR) is another term for Electronic Health Record (EHR) or Electronic Medical Record (EMR)