Would you rather have a root canal or live with a new EMR implementation? Ask ASC teams and administrators, and they might opt for the root canal. In exchange for far-off promises of making everything “better,” they’d rather live with what they know than risk the upheaval and disruption a new system brings. Yet typically, once they are through the initial implementation phase, most ASCs report they’ve stemmed the inherent risk and disorganization of paper records, or have used automation to reduce the tedium and inefficiency of repetitive tasks.

With an EMR software implementation in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to look at optimization. For ASCs, getting the most out of an EMR is the vital next step in their digital transformation process. EMR optimization frees clinical staff up to focus more on patient care, reduces administrative burden, and fosters greater transparency into previously opaque processes, i.e. ,monthly report spreadsheets with unknown passwords or undefined categories left behind when there is turnover.. In addition to patient care and administrative ease, EMR optimization has clear implications for strengthening the bottom line.

For ASCs ready to take the plunge, here are three ways to optimize the value of your EMR investment.

Be NICE

No ASC software implementation is going to succeed if clinicians don’t like it and won’t look for ways to maximize its impact. The best way to ensure clinician satisfaction is through initial and ongoing EMR education.

Once they’ve gained a comfort level with the technology, clinicians will begin looking for ways to make it work even more effectively for the organization. Which is why we’ve added another acronym to healthcare’s alphabet soup: NICE, or Never Interrupt Clinician Education. Ok, so it may not catch on except in this post, but it’s a good way to remember the imperative for adequate clinician training.

ASCs that make clinician education an ongoing priority will realize these benefits a lot faster and more thoroughly than organizations that don’t.

Foster Optimization Teamwork

Developing an optimization team helps to customize the EMR to the ASC’s specific workflows. Pull together a group from all parts of the organization to conduct a baseline assessment of where users are having difficulty, then identify ways to make small usability changes that can improve workflow and streamline inefficiencies. They should also be able to recommend adaptations to specific clinician workflows. Whether it’s just an EHR or a comprehensive center management and patient chart system (like ours), the software should be flexible and intuitive enough to enable these changes .

For example: one ASC kept track of patient personal belongings via a grid sheet on a clipboard, which proved to be both cumbersome and problematic. After being live on the EMR software for a while, the center added those data elements to the PreOp record. Then they mapped the same data to the PaCU record. No more looking for the lost clipboard, but more importantly, the center was able to keep better track of patient belongings.

Keep it Simple

ASC Data AnalyticsAbove all, keep it simple. I know we really like the word “simple,” but it’s especially important to keep in mind for optimization. Just because the EMR has a certain functionality doesn’t mean it needs to be used. The optimization team can help to determine what works for your center. For example, surgical teams might be best supported with note templates that display less data at a time to help reduce information overload. 

A streamlined EMR also helps with one of medicine’s biggest challenges: physician burnout. Though it’s now below 50 percent for the first time in the last eight years, the American Medical Association’s latest survey shows that physicians continue to have the highest burnout rates among US workers.

It’s Still Just a Tool

When it comes down to it, and as we’ve said before, EMRs are a tool to help you provide the patient with better care. Find one that helps you be a better clinician. Find one that helps you be more humane with each other in the pressure cooker atmosphere of the average ASC. Find one that satisfies the /perfectionist that resides in every surgeon and ASC administrator. The Simplify ASC platform is designed specifically for ASCs from the ground up. From our initial digital patient chart to our full business suite that includes everything from scheduling and registration to claims management, we are with you every step of the way.

Learn more about how to get the best ASC software working for you.

New call-to-action