Paperless can drive quality of care in hospitals

January 15th, 2014 | Posted by Kevin Corley in Information Management

While the many benefits of implementing electronic health records are touted on a regular basis, much of the focus is on cost savings, care provider efficiency and the experiences that patients have with regard to the attentiveness of staff and speed of care. However, one unexpected advantages investing in document management software and full EHR support can bring to the table is an actual improvement in the work that nurses and doctors perform.

According to EHR Intelligence, one effect that many health care centers are seeing is increased visibility of actual job performance from their staff. While poor EHR implementation can mask inadequacies in care and allow nurses and doctors to get away with less than perfect performance, the right tools and strategy can drive them to up their game and ensure they are offering patients their absolute best every time they interact.

A study performed by the Columbia University School of Nursing found that counterproductive EHR practices can also stifle the potential of nurses in particular, keeping hospitals from utilizing them to their maximum potential.

"Organizational policies can often trump governmental policies, keeping the contribution of the nurse practitioner unrecognized and preventing them from making the fullest contribution possible to effective patient care," noted Columbia Nursing Assistant Professor Lusine Poghosyan, lead author on the study. "Meaningful changes in workforce climate should be put in place quickly to fully leverage the NP role in meeting the demand for effective care emerging from the revitalization of the primary care system. Health care organizations now need to be proactive in creating policies and practices conducive to NP practice."

By investing in high-quality document conversion services and the right EHR platforms, medical centers can optimize their EHR strategy and ensure they are focusing on performance and quality of care, rather than just the accuracy of records. By promoting both improvements at once, facilities can focus on the quality of care their patients are receiving, regardless of who is giving it, and maintain the full benefits of both EHR deployment and nurse practitioner expertise.

Poor EHR habits can create more problems than they address, and complicating such deployments with poor operational practices as well can result in fines and other hefty consequences.

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