Ask the nursing expert ... about choosing an EHR system

Share this article:
Angel McGarrity-Davis, RN, CDONA, NHA
Angel McGarrity-Davis, RN, CDONA, NHA

With so many electronic health records out there, how do we find the best one for our nurses? 

You want to incorporate a high-quality, efficient, complete, secure and cost-effective health information system into the clinical workflow. Most importantly, it should save nurses time.

Have a checklist prior to meeting with an EHR vendor. This may include:   

• Tech support and cost

• Timeliness of follow up

• Training costs

• Any other fees 

• What back-up plan is provided

Hardware is very expensive. One option may be lease-to-own hardware. This can be negotiated with your vendor. Think about how you can maximize usability of the software and the hardware. Internet/Wi-Fi often is problematic. You will need to have strong connectivity throughout your facility. You do not want the MAR going down at the end of the hall during a med pass.

The system must provide basic capabilities to assist clinicians in providing holistic care. The clinical data must be high quality, following the actual time-stamped workflow of the clinical events and tasks. All the disciplines must talk to each other. This is our opportunity for positive outcomes through early assessment, treatment and evaluation.

During implementation, enumerate the benefits to the clinicians, patients and families. The entire interdisciplinary team must be involved in the decision. Technology can enable proactive nursing care, better continuity of care, improved ratings, decreased re-hospitalizations and better survey results. But you have to look beyond the hype. Marketing efforts mean nothing if you spend too much money for what nurses don't need. With all the Medicare cuts (and more coming), EHRs have to be the solution, not the problem.

Share this article:

More in News

Long-term care continues to lead in deal volume and value: PwC report

Long-term care continues to lead in deal volume ...

Long-term care bucked healthcare industry trends with strong merger and acquisition activity in the second quarter of 2014, according to newly released data from professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Empowering nurse practitioners could reduce hospitalizations from SNFs, study finds

Granting more authority to nurse practitioners is associated with reduced hospitalization of skilled nursing facility residents, according to recently published findings.

Pioneer ACO drops out of program, despite reductions in skilled nursing utilization

A California healthcare system has become the latest dropout from the Pioneer Accountable Care Organization program, despite reducing skilled nursing facility utilization and improving its readmission rates. Sharp HealthCare announced its decision in a quarterly financial statement released Tuesday.