After Unsuccessful EHR Purchases Doctors are Reverting Back to Paper
Author: Larry Goldstone; Published: Apr 24, 2013; Category: Industry Article, ProMentum, Switching EHR, Uncategorized; Tags: American Medical Informatics Association, EHR switching, electronic, Paper chart templates; No Comments
When UC Charting Solutions set out to design and build a new EHR software solution for Urgent Care Santa Fe in early 2010, we first spent considerable time studying the work flow of an urgent care clinic. It was important for us to understand how the front desk and receptionists operated, how the doctors saw patients, how record keeping, coding, billing and filing of paper records were accomplished and we needed to understand how the practice owners would benefit from the system. Since we were tasked with developing a patient charting solution for the clinic, we felt it imperative to understand how the practice functioned and to design an EHR solution that followed that process. In our minds, to do otherwise would be like allowing the “tail to wag the dog.”
After the initial design and development work were completed we decided to visit an UCAOA conference to see if we had designed a system that made sense given the already existing EHR software on the market. Lo and behold, we came to realize that we had taken a completely unique approach to the process of electronically charting patient visits using software. At the same time we wondered how the industry would cope with all of the EHR products that seemed to be inconsistent and insensitive to the needs of practicing doctors and medical personnel.
Now, three years later, a timely study reinforced this notion as published in the March 14 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. That study found that many doctors who were already using an EHR had to revert back to paper to complete certain tasks. These so-called workarounds circumvent the value of an EHR, that being the goal of making the process of charting, storing and retrieving patient records faster, more complete and more efficient. Clearly, reverting back to paper undid those goals.
The study went on to cite three reasons why providers found a paper based approach to be preferable to what their existing EHR provided, those being efficiency, memory and awareness. More troubling, what this study is really suggesting is that the vast majority of currently available EHR’s on the market today are failing to deliver on improving efficiency, enhancing memory and increasing patient and doctor awareness.
How could that be? For example, the study found that hand writing entries were preferred to data entry when the data entry person was unavailable, implying that not every provider was proficient in using the practice EHR. They somehow rely on someone else more technically savvy to do that work for them. That suggests that many of these solutions are just too complex for some providers. Further, most EHR’s on the market today do not even allow for the use of handwriting. Rather, the architecture is designed around text entry boxes, drop down menus, sub menus and sub-sub menus. These deeply embedded software designs prove very difficult to learn and, therefore, very inefficient. In other words, they slow practitioners down thereby reducing patient volumes and patient revenue.
That is why UC Charting Solutions set about developing an EHR software solution that would be familiar to providers, as well as intuitive to understand and easy to learn. The genius of ProMentum is that it is an electronic charting solution that works like paper charting. The two primary differences are that a provider writes on an electronic tablet, not a piece of paper and the provider writes with a stylus, not a pen or pencil. Most everything else about the ProMentum charting process remains the same right down to the look and layout of the chart itself. And, it is electronic!
With ProMentum, providers are NOT required to learn a new charting template or charting process. Instead, UC Charting Solutions converts your existing paper template into an electronic tablet version. Clinics are not required to change the template that they use for charting. It is so much easier this way, and our solution meets all government mandated certification requirements. We like to say: If you can chart on paper, you can chart on ProMentum. Most of our providers and their office associates can learn to use ProMentum in less than an hour, and virtually overnight a medical practice can move from a paper based non-EHR environment to a fully certified EHR process.
No, it’s really not a miracle, it’s a design and architectural alternative to what everyone else thought needed to be done. Ours is a provider-friendly, patient-friendly software solution that meets all government mandated requirements for Meaningful Use incentive payments and Medicare/Medicaid compliance. The competition are computer programmer friendly systems that may meet those same government requirements but fail to be responsive to the needs, capabilities and requirements of the business, that of serving and attending to patients.