Ways to Get Physicians to Embrace the EHR

July 19, 2016

Looking to get physicians on board with your EHR system? Here are a few tips that one expert says will help get the job done.

While choosing to bring on the most tech-savvy doctor as your EHR champion might seem like a logical choice when your goal is encouraging physician adoption, Mitch Morris, a physician, vice chair and global healthcare sector leader at consulting firm Deloitte and former chief technology officer at MD Anderson, cautions against it. Many of the more technically-oriented physicians have the "newest gizmos," said Morris, but most physicians can't necessarily relate to that level of interest in technology, he added.

Instead, Morris recommends partnering with the most clinically-adept doctors at your practice. These doctors have the respect of their colleagues, which means they will already have these colleagues coming to them about complex patient cases. "That's the person you want to choose as your champion because they have their colleagues' clinical respect, they have the most credibility for advising on a variety of topics, including your practice's EHR," he said.

Other strategies for getting your physicians to embrace your EHR include:

"Elbow-to-elbow" support. Sending physicians to training classes as part of the EHR rollout and implementation is valuable, said Morris. Even more valuable is teaming up each of your physicians with a trainer who's there to help them as they're actually using the system to document patient care.

Templates-when used wisely. There are specialty-specific templates for documenting care in the EHR that can help save time, but you need to be careful with them, advised Morris. There can be a tendency to "stop thinking and evaluating" and taking the attention away from the patient when you're using a template and checking boxes in the EHR.

The primary concern for a physician during the patient visit is figuring out why your patient is in your office. You have to be very careful about anything that distracts you from a free exchange of information between you and your patient, he said.

Smart investments in EHR implementation. The reality is, cost shapes much of the discussion about a successful EHR implementation and adoption by physicians, said Morris, who isn't a fan of hiring scribes to document care in the EHR. Noting that doctors are "frugal" by nature, he says there's no need to pay for the most expensive EHR training solution; still, skimping on this expense can hurt physician adoption. What he recommends is an investment in the middle of what he describes as the "Mercedes" or a high-end investment and the "20-year-old Toyota Camry" or a low-cost investment.

What you're looking for is a good EHR experience for physicians at an appropriate level of investment, he advised.