EMR Optimization

"The Healthcare IT industry is really in its infancy. Information technology will increasingly touch all areas of your operations and your business. Specializing and optimizing information technology for orthopedics or any subspecialty is essential to maximize both patient care and your margin."

EMR OptimizationEMR optimization is critical to effective and efficient clinical operations within an orthopedic practice. We have extensive experience in workflow strategy employment regardless of your EMR, and have broad practical experience with Epic in particular. Our advisors can assist you before and after implementation, and make recommendations as to how the EMR can be optimized, so minimal impact is realized in your practice.

EMR implementation can appear overwhelming when in the conceptual stage. Our team of experts can help you anticipate what to expect and help you effectively transform your clinic and processes to optimize your EMR.

We also consult with institutions that have already been through the process of implementation and offer strategies on how to continuously streamline and improve workflow. Every institution is a unique entity, with differing operational and administrative issues to address. The OrthoVise team can help you develop tools to continuously optimize your EMR.

Additionally, through our partnerships, we can provide you with outstanding analytics guidance and help you leverage your substantial investment in healthcare information technology. The access to analytics is essential, but knowing how to use the data at hand and provide real time access to that data, can separate you from your competitors from a patient care and business perspective.

We collaborate with experts in IT implementation and optimization as well, so if you desire the best recommendations from a combination of orthopedics and IT professionals, OrthoVise is the best choice for your practice.

Don’t Stop at Implementation;
Optimize Your EMR for Orthopedics.

Orthopedic practices of all types are being confronted today with how they will at first implement, and then optimize, a new electronic medical record system. How a practice deals with each is critical from a patient care and financial perspective due to the substantial cost in dollars and in human resources needed for deployment and maintenance.

Regardless of what type of EMR you have chosen or that has been chosen for you, there will be many efficiencies that can be realized, and inefficiencies that must be minimized. As orthopedics is a very high margin and high volume healthcare specialty, it has the potential to be affected to a greater extent than most other specialties due to the requirements of the EMR for each patient visit. The time frame before and after your EMR implementation is simply an opportune time for you to evaluate your current processes and transform your clinic in all ways that are indicated. In many cases, this means changing a culture or changing processes that have been present for a long time. A new EMR can’t fix current issues and will likely expose and magnify them.

As a practice administrator, it is very important to make the critical distinction between implementation and optimization. Optimization is really where your efficiencies can be realized. The process hopefully begins concurrently as you work towards implementation, but optimization really shows its value when you move away from the boiler plate of the implementation phase and truly begin to smooth out your processes.

According to the dictionary, to “optimize” means to:

  1. Make the best of anything
  2. Take full advantage of
  3. To plan or carry out with maximum efficiency

You will undoubtedly get support from your institution or from a vendor with implementation. This is critical as it helps you get your system installed and running. But optimization is very different. It has to do with everything that your EMR may potentially touch and it has to consider all things unique to orthopedics and your practice specifically.

The electronic health record market is forecast to grow at a steady pace and reach 8.4 billion dollars annually by 2016. If you have not already migrated, it is simply a matter of “when” and not “if” your health system or your specific practice will move to an “All-In-One” EMR or a “Best of Breed” EMR. The “Best of Breed” EMR built specifically for orthopedics has many optimizations built in, but it still can’t take into consideration how your practice will optimize it from the standpoint of staffing, facility composition, workflows, smartsets, orders, etc. These are decisions and changes that you must make and/or create after careful evaluation.

The “All-in One” EMR such as the solution provided by Epic Systems historically had been the choice of only the largest health systems. Today however, this is changing quickly and the use of the All-In-One EMR is filtering down to medium sized practices and health systems. Even small practices are using them increasingly because of their affiliations with larger entities. This brings with it a software system that is good for many things, but will also not be built with orthopedics specifically in mind. Specialty physicians learn this quickly from peers and your front line staff will as well.

So, optimization is clearly a goal. In many ways we are stating the obvious. But what is not obvious is the key to optimization in nearly all situations. The problem is, you may not be aware of all of your options or your institution may not have turned them all on for you. It is important you are knowledgeable of the reality that you may be missing a lot of possibilities and that you ask for help to take full advantage of all your software offers. Learning from others can be extremely helpful. We have realized this the hard way, but we continue to find benchmarking irreplaceable three years after our go-live date. In essence, we are still optimizing.

Your new EMR will be welcomed by some, but is more often a source of anxiety for your physicians and staff. With this in mind, it is extremely helpful to consider how you can minimize the anxiety and develop a productive attitude of those on the front line. Optimization is the key to this. The last thing that any administrator or physician desires is to have your physician staff be at work keying in notes, dictating, or entering orders late into the evening. You will have very unhappy physicians who dislike their EMR in every way and they will be correct in holding that opinion. It is absolutely critical to ask for the additional help and resources. This need is very real. It may come in the form of hiring more clinical and support staff, or it may involve professional assistance over the short term. One thing that we cannot recommend more strongly is the importance of maximizing the autonomy of your staff in support of the physician. All possible tasks that they can perform which allow the physician to spend their time on value added patient care services should be considered and implemented as part of the optimization process.

When optimized, a new EMR should not cause an orthopedic practice to experience a decrease in volume, access, and patient satisfaction. You should expect some small impact initially, but if the right decisions have been made pre-implementation, combined with appropriate training and a positive approach to change, the learning and optimization curve should be very short. When your newly implemented and optimized EMR functions well, it can be a game changer for your patients and your staff. With an opportunistic approach and the right philosophy, this result is very realistic and achievable. We hope our background, insight, and front line experience, particularly with the Epic Systems EMR, can help you transform your practice and optimize not only its function, but also the perception of your patients, physicians, and staff.