Home Health Clinicians: Don’t Let Your EHR Get in the Way

Health care technology has gone through a revolution in recent years, but the results aren’t all good. Reports about physicians being so distracted by electronic health records that they can’t give patients face time abound, and the home health sector isn’t immune to this trend. With varied stakeholders involved in patient interactions, home health clinicians are especially dependent on home health software to keep them informed. However, technical complexity can leave them spending so much time working in their EHR that they aren’t left with much time for their patients.

The growing need for thoughtful home health care
The home health industry is at a crossroads. An aging population is combining with the high cost of traditional health care practices to make home care attractive in the United States. Research published in the Sage journals explained that the U.S. is experiencing such a rapid demographic shift that it must quickly ramp up home health capabilities. At the same time, the growing elderly population and rise of chronic conditions has left state and federal government agencies, particularly Medicare and Medicaid, scrambling to keep up with cost demands.

According to the report, all of these transitions are creating pressure for innovation as home health agencies are asked to play a larger role in patient care.

As this transition takes place,home health agencies can use EHRs and similar advanced technologies to support more efficient, effective care practices. However, this is only possible to accomplish with EHRs that empower staff as opposed to bogging them down in clerical work.

Achieving care innovation through user-friendly EHRs
Kaiser Health News reported that alert fatigue – a situation that arises when people are exposed to so many notifications on digital devices that they begin to ignore them or be frustrated by them – is hitting hard across the health care sector. As EHRs have ramped up functionality to offer more alerts and reminders, the frequency of these notifications is leaving caregivers exhausted.

This is just one example of a good EHR idea that, when taken too far, can prove problematic from a user experience. How can a nurse focus on interacting with a patient if an EHR is serving up a pop-up notification every couple of minutes? Notifications and alerts, just like other core EHR functions, aren’t inherently bad. The problem isn’t in the functionality; it comes in how the capability is delivered in the user interface.

If care providers have to jump through software hoops to access the data they need and share information with care stakeholders, for example, they are going to be left spending lots of time doing that clerical work instead of interacting with patients. If a constant buzz of reminders demand attention instead of residing in the background as a safety net to prevent errors, users can be left feeling stressed.

Leading EHRs designed specifically for home health settings have been created with user friendliness in mind. The goal is to simplify and streamline the interface so home health clinicians can spend less time interacting with the technology and more time with patients. As home health agencies continue to face rising demand and new challenges, technologies that free caregivers to focus on patients are critical.

firstHOMECARE with CAREpliance™ technology gives home health clinicians the freedom to focus more time on patients and promotes work/life balance by alleviating documentation headaches and charting after hours. It naturally direct attention to patients and achieve better outcomes with smarter workflow design, creating satisfied and happy patients. Contact us to learn more!

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