As electronic health records (EHRs) gain in popularity and function using them to improve your efficiency and effectiveness as a doctor doesn’t have to be like learning another language. Recent studies have shown that EHRs improve the quality of patient care and decrease medical errors as well as provided financial benefits for practices in the long run. So how can you use EHRs to improve your practice?

Physicians Practice offers several suggestions, ranging from using shortcuts when appropriate to effectively training all team members on the software and keeping them up-to-date. The most important thing you can do for yourself is to thoroughly understand the EHR software, inside and out. To learn more about the software, considering asking your vendor to spend the day in your practice as they watch your team and allow them to suggest ways to maximize efficiencies.

In addition, use the resources that vendors provide to help train, educate and teach others about the software and EHR program you choose to use. Physicians Practice suggests that you “observe a similar medical practice using the same EHR.”

Many of the challenges associated with EHR come when a practice adopts the software too quickly and it is difficult to navigate. These challenges are easy to overcome when a practice slowly rolls out the EHR and finds the one that many of its nurses, doctors, and other healthcare providers can easily use and access every day. Streamline MD recently released a paper to discuss these challenges, which you can find here.

Once the EHR system is well-established and the users are well-trained, you can learn how to use the software to the advantage of your practice and improve your patient’s healthcare experience. Many patients like the flexibility and options that come with the EHR system.

Dr. Surinder Saini, a gastroenterologist practicing in Newport Beach, California who filled out the survey, said that his patients like that he uses electronic records. “They totally buy into this concept because they don’t have to fill the paper out time and again. They can just edit it when they come if there’s any issue,” Saini said. “They have their prescription waiting for them when they go to the pharmacy, rather than taking a paper prescription and waiting for 30 minutes for the pharmacist to fill it.”

As more practices transition to using EHRs, using them efficiently and effectively is an important aspect of running a successful office. The good news is that these objectives are not difficult to obtain with patience, training, and proper implementation.