While many chiropractors are already busy, some are now finding that EHR system alerts consume a bigger portion of their work days and leave less and less time for patient care.
A new Baylor University study confirms that primary care doctors are losing a significant amount of time to EHR alerts and messages. In fact, the typical physician loses more than one hour of each work day to these notifications, according to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Without a strategy to use EHR notifications more efficiently, many DCs may simply be losing time with their patients.
Boost work efficiency and reduce distractions
According to an article in Becker’s Hospital Review, better time management can help physicians avoid unnecessary distractions. A few of the author’s suggestions apply to chiropractic clinics, such as:¹
- Manage burnout: Burnout may contribute to your frustration at work, so be sure to pay close attention to your daily energy cycles in order to minimize your risk of becoming distracted.
- Stay energetic at work: Research suggests that the human body follows 90 minute cycles of wakefulness throughout the day. These are similar to the 90 minute sleep cycles our bodies undergo at night. Keeping this in mind, you may want to take short breaks every 90 minutes to help prevent your mind from wandering.
- Stop interruptions: Frequent interruptions and ineffective multitasking may be interfering with your ability to focus long enough to complete your tasks. Over the course of the day, these disruptions may be forcing you to spend too much time on each task. If, for example, checking your phone, email and watching EHR notifications at the same time is stretching out your workday, you may want to consider reducing the number of times you check your email each day.
Rather than emphasizing a particular length of time, the article’s author suggests that physicians opt for using their time more efficiently.
Manage your technology use with P.O.I.S.E.D.
In another JAMA article, researcher and Indiana University School of Medicine Professor of Medicine Richard Frankel, PH.D suggested a strategy for physicians to use to help them become more efficient when using EHR during patient appointments. Rather than constantly paying attention to EHR system messages and alerts, Frankel suggested that physicians use a system that allows them to both become more aware of the patient’s needs and manage technology better.²
This model can be memorized using the acronym “P.O.I.S.E.D.”:²
- Prepare: Before the patient’s appointment, briefly review his or her records.
- Orient: After you arrive in the room and begin talking with your patient, log in to your EHR system and spend one or two minutes explaining to your patient what you are using your EHR for.
- Information gathering: Rather than waiting until after the appointment is over to enter patient information, begin entering information into the EHR as your patient answers your questions.
- Share: Allow the patient to see the computer screen as you type. This helps build patient trust and reduce errors.
- Educate: Share something with the patient on your computer screen that can help him or her learn about health. For example, a graph showing his or her personal progress or test results.
- Debrief: Review your notes with the patient as you glance at his or her records. Make sure the patient understands your recommendations and answer any questions they may have about their treatment.
By spending more time focused on the patient and less time with EHR messages, you may help improve patient care and build a stronger relationship with your patients.
Use technology more effectively and improve patient care
You may find that your patients appreciate your efforts to focus on them instead of on endless EHR alerts. While EHR is certainly important and requires a great deal of accuracy, you may find that your accurate use of EHR actually improves whenever you implement these strategies to manage your technology use.
¹Rosen, Tamara. “Getting more work done in 5 hours than others do in 12: Why some CEOs question traditional ‘time management.’” Becker’s Hospital Review. http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/getting-more-work-done-in-5-hours-than-others-do-in-12-why-some-ceos-question-traditional-time-management.html. Published January 2016. Accessed April 2016.
²EurekAlert!. “Inserting computers into heart and soul of medicine, the doctor-patient relationship.” http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-11/iu-ici113015.php. Published November 2015. Accessed April 2016.