How a Rush physician helped reduce clicks in Epic EHR

After a physician at Chicago-based Rush University Medical Center noticed he was having to enter his login and password whenever he sent an electronic prescription through its Epic EHR, he went to administrators to change the system, helping save Rush providers time, the American Medical Association reported Sept. 13. 

"To me, it's a plea for institutional investment in having physicians who are well-versed and sophisticated in understanding electronic medical records and to give them the time to try to delve in to this and try to make practices more efficient," Daniel Dunham, MD, now the chair of medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, told the AMA in a recent podcast.

To make EHR changes, physicians must help decision makers understand the return on investment, Dr. Dunham said. Those extra clicks in the EHR added up to about 10 minutes of extra work a day and contributed to physician burnout — not a wise idea when it can cost $500,000 to $1 million to replace a physician who leaves for another organization, he said.

Dr. Dunham also told the AMA that physicians should be more involved in the planning stages of EHR systems. "If we can try to minimize the time that we spend away from direct patient care, it's going to help eliminate our frustrations, but it's also going to let us optimize our time with patients, where our time is probably best spent," he said.

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