Click reduction: How advanced printing technologies can help improve care delivery
Healthcare providers are frustrated by the number of clicks required to access the most basic patient health information.
While the adoption of electronic health records has enabled healthcare organizations to collect important patient data into a “single source of truth,” the task of finding the most pertinent clinical information within that source can be a challenge — one that can interfere with care delivery and patient outcomes.1
Frank Cutitta, HIMSS market analyst, said EHR platforms were supposed to reduce the use of paper and make things easier for providers. That prediction has largely been an illusion.
“What we see is that providers have a ton more information coming into the EHR from different areas,” he said. “The information a provider actually needs may require four or five different screen views to find. It’s taxing. And, honestly, one of the top issues I hear from healthcare technology pros is that they want to reduce the number of mouse clicks for providers and make it a lot less frustrating.
“More importantly, what might seem to be simple usability challenges are, in aggregate, becoming one of the leading causes of clinical stress and burnout, sometimes right in the middle of a patient engagement,” Cutitta added.
But this issue isn’t just about provider frustration, according to Cutitta. When a provider’s time is wasted clicking from screen to screen, it often significantly impacts the care delivery timeline, resulting in unnecessary delays in patient care and a higher risk of potential medical errors. This is exacerbated by the stress created by the amount of report writing a doctor or clinician must do at the expense of time with the patient.”
But there are ways to streamline the workflow. One way, Cutitta said, is to consider advanced printing technologies as a vital extension of your organization’s EHR platform. Having the right multifunction printers in the technology ecosystem, designed for easy integration with major EHR platforms, can allow clinical staff to securely digitize, print, and share information, thereby reducing the number of clicks and ensuring that the right clinical data is available at the right point in the care delivery workflow.
“This isn’t just a technology problem,” he said. “It’s not just about reducing paper or adding more information into the EHR. There is an emotional economics component at work here, where every time you can save your providers a click, or make it a little easier for them to do their job, you are ultimately going to improve care delivery.”
Giving providers the right tools
Care delivery workflows, Cutitta added, are changing as more healthcare organizations embrace value-based care. And, as noted in the recent Deloitte Insights report Volume- to Value-Based Care, physicians report they lack the tools they need to deliver true value and improved patient outcomes.2 But the addition of advanced printing technologies can act as a technology hub, making it easier for providers to retrieve the information they need when they need it, increasing value and improving care.
“If you talk to physicians and nurses and ask them what frustrates them the most, they will tell you it’s all the wasted time,” he said. “They have to dig for information in the EHR. They have to spend extra time by the printer instead of with patients. And they have to remember so many different passwords. Taken all together, you are distracting providers from doing what they are supposed to be doing, which is taking care of patients.”
New advanced printing technologies can save clinical staff members significant time and frustration by enabling them to quickly and securely access the EHR and other important clinical systems.
“With the right ecosystem, all you need is a badge or a fingerprint to get into the EHR, pulling out only the information you need from it,” Cutitta said. “The same access to technology allows you to pull print: Just walk up to the printer and get your print job right when you need it. This kind of approach gives providers more direct access to the EHR so they can get what they need without 30 clicks and not have to worry about someone who shouldn’t have access to that patient data accidentally getting hold of it.”
That saved time, from the admissions process to surgical scheduling, can add up quickly, ensuring that patients don’t have to wait for the right diagnosis or begin a recommended treatment plan.
“The ability to have technologies that can operate across different types of platforms and devices has become fundamental for optimal care delivery,” he said. “So when you can work with vendors who can bring technologies that can act as communication nodes in this ecosystem and make it easier for patient information to get where it needs to be without adding extra work to clinicians’ plates, there’s going to be a lot of value. And it’s going to be the kind of value that is going to benefit care delivery and patient satisfaction in the long run.”
- Schulte F & Fry E. Death by 1,000 Clicks: Where Electronic Health Records Went Wrong. Fortune. March 18, 2019. https://khn.org/news/death-by-a-thousand-clicks/.
- Gordon R, Burrill S, and Chang C. Volume- to value-based care: Physicians are willing to manage cost but lack data and tools. Deloitte Insights. October 11, 2018. https://www2.deloitte.com/insights/us/en/industry/health-care/volume-to-value-based-care.html.