The transition to electronic health records (EHR) can be difficult for physicians, but the nursing staff can help to make the change easier. The productivity of nurses can be improved with implementation of an EHR system and, when involved in the process, they are often instrumental in helping the practice make the difficult transition.
The first attempt to implement EHRs at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital failed because of a lack of nurse involvement, Clinical Innovation and Technology reported. The second time around, management made sure to include nurse representatives in all meetings and trainings. As a result, the majority of the staff was informed about the changes and the implementation was successful.
Nicole Martinez, director of nursing informatics at the hospital, explained that physicians shouldn't take all the responsibility of EHR systems on themselves.
"For physicians to truly collaborate with nursing, the nurses now cared about the physician struggle," said Martinez at the Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society annual convention.
EHRIntelligence reported that transitions to EHR systems have an 83 percent higher success rate when nurses take on some of the responsibility. Many nurses enter illness history into the electronic system through a physician-approved template and conduct reviews of system data.
Electronic records can also increase the productivity of the nursing staff. EHRs provide immediate access to patient information, allow for quick prescription refills and prevent misfiled charts from slowing work.
Nurses who are already familiar with computers tend to embrace the new systems, but technophobes often need more convincing of the benefits. However, getting nurses on board for implementation can ease the burden on physicians and increase the speed and efficiency of the transition.