DrFirst Healthcare Technology Blog

Don’t Place a Square Peg in a Round Hole! Specialists Need Their Own Kind of EHR

January 26, 2011

Specialists considering adopting an electronic health record (EHR):  Take heed.  When it comes to EHRs, one size does not fill all.

Researchers at University of California at Davis studied six primary care offices and found that when the same EHR was installed in internal medicine, family physician, and pediatric practices, the internal medicine practices increased their pre-EHR productivity while the pediatric and family physician practices were never able to regain their pre-EHR productivity.

Why?  Because the EHR utilized by the three different types of practices was actually best suited for the work flow of the internal medicine offices.

It only makes sense that the EHR a physician practice selects should meet the needs of the office’s specialty.  For example, orthopedists require a much higher capacity and special functions for the X-rays and other diagnostic films they maintain in their system.  A garden variety EHR simply may not have the features to meet this particular specialty’s needs.

To avoid ending up with an EHR that requires endless workarounds, the specialty practice should conduct a work-flow analysis prior to signing on the dotted line. This analysis will reveal what the office’s needs are that are specific to the type of medicine practiced.  The EHR that is ultimately selected should complement the changes to the work flow and processes that the practice is anticipating.

Will your practice find a system that meets your every need exactly?  It’s doubtful.  The world of EHRs is by its very nature a work in progress.  As lessons are learned, systems will be upgraded to meet unanticipated issues and new medical technologies.  But it’s important to get in the game and carefully select the EHR that will best suit your practice.

DrFirst, Inc. has partnerships with over 130 EHR vendors, many that are specialty specific and all are enhanced with the power of DrFirst’s e-prescribing solution Rcopia.  Find the right EHR for you!  View a list of our partners.

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About the Author

Irene Froehlich

Ms. Froehlich has been with DrFirst since its inception in 2000. In her role as Director of Marketing, she oversees the planning, directing, and coordinating all marketing and public relations efforts at DrFirst. Ms. Froehlich has a B.S. in Communications from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.

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