Although the benefits of EMR technology are well documented, going paperless is a complicated process that changes the way physicians and staff members handle almost every task. But proper training and preparation can make for a smooth transition.
The transition can be complicated if a practice does not allow enough time for the process, says Denise Moore, business administrator at Physicians to Women, PA, in Stuart, FL. She recommends one year, if possible, or no less than six months of training and preparation for going paperless.
Major problems can arise when the practice has not analyzed and delegated proper work flow. This can result in bottlenecks in the work flow process, Stearns says.
Another potential problem is when the doctors of a multi-physician practice do not want to change how they organize information on patient records. Having a written work flow process can alleviate this situation, Moore says.
Some staff members learn differently than others. The amount of training necessary for staff members depends on their computer experience and learning preferences. For example, some people learn more quickly by following a written manual and require more of a learning curve.
Others are visual learners and only want the manual as a reference guide and, as a result, may learn the system more quickly, Moore says.
It is also important to remember that mistakes can still be made with an EMR system. The wrong information can be scanned into a chart, much like someone misfiling a paper chart. Again, proper training, as well as emphasizing meticulously entering patient information, can help avoid this problem.