Office Design for EMRs

November 1, 2005

We are in the process of building a new clinic that will have an electronic medical record. We are interested in designs for exam rooms, in particular the work surface for the PC. Have you seen any changes that practices have made as they go to an EMR?

Question: We are in the process of building a new clinic that will have an electronic medical record. We are interested in designs for exam rooms, in particular the work surface for the PC. Have you seen any changes that practices have made as they go to an EMR?

Answer: The changes you'll need to make depend entirely on how you plan to use your EMR.

Ideally, if physicians will use the EMR in the exam room - whether on a tablet, laptop, or desktop - they should have room to set down their PC with sufficient space around it for paperwork. It's great if patients can be positioned so that the physician can sit next to them while using the EMR. Try to avoid forcing the physician to use the EMR with his back turned to the patient.

If the EMR will be used between visits, some practices use standing-room only "dictation pods." This is a space off the main exam room hallway with a small counter - positioned high enough to use a PC on it while standing. Physicians can pop in there between visits for some privacy to create a chart without leaving the exam room area.