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From one nurse to another, why does an EHR matter?

Dec 18, 2014 | Author: Jackie Blecher, RN

Moving from paper to an electronic health care record in ASCs is inevitable.  Most of us dislike change:  it’s disorienting, slows us down, and we usually, as nurses, have very little input into the change, if any.

Since change is inevitable, a proactive approach rather than resistance can make the transition less painful.  Having survived a go-live transition to an EHR in a major hospital, here are my reasons for welcoming the change:

  •  You will finally be able to read everything in the chart.
  • All parts of the chart will be immediately accessible and organized by your role.  No more flipping through voluminous pages to find what you need.
  • Templates will ease the charting process, no need to reinvent the wheel each time.
  • Checkmarks and drop-down menus really do simplify workflow.

What can you do to prepare?  First and foremost, accept that the change is coming—just a question of when.  Start preparations now.  Small bites will make the task much less daunting.  

Is the preoperative call sheet current?  What would make it better?  Are the preference cards up to date?  Which are most utilized and require review? 

I cannot stress enough the importance of a current, complete preference card.  This could make the difference between a great or harried day.  What you put into the electronic record is exactly what you will get out.  Participating in that which you have control is far more desirable than leaving others to guess your needs and wants. Create a time table for preparation, for example, what procedures, templates and preference cards can you tackle each month for the coming 6-9 months?

We are coming up on a New Year, the perfect time for setting resolutions.  Make this year’s resolution one that the whole nursing staff can contribute to.  The ease of the transition from paper to an EHR will be far less painful and the reception to a new way of doing things more positive when you do transition to an EHR.

After a while, a paper chart will look like a dinosaur to you.