The Inefficiency of NextGen EHR
Today, every industry is using technology for one reason or another. In most cases, it is used to enhance the services offered to the customers or produce a quality product. In the health care industry, technological application has helped in improving and saving several lives of people across the world. For instance, medical technology advancement has enabled physicians to improve the ways they diagnose and treat sick patients today. As a result, countless lives of people have been saved and quality delivery of services improved over time. Nevertheless, as health institutions use technology in different ways to improve the lives of their patients, they have to meet the HIPAA standards of regulation. In addition, there is Privacy and Security Act that has been established with the patients in mind to ensure that healthcare institutions keep the information about their patients confidential, even when they enter the digital world with their health operations. NextGen EHR is a new technology that is currently being integrated into several health institutions to improve the health outcome of patients. It is an integrated and comprehensive technology that is meant to fit the specialty and ambulatory needs practices (NextGen Healthcare, n.d.). As a result, healthcare providers who are applying this technology have seen some positive benefits, such as a reduction in costs of health delivery, an increase in their level of efficiency, and the prevention of errors. Nevertheless, this technology like all others has its limitations which the healthcare providers need to be wary of when they use it. NextGen EHR is inefficient because it has a lot of robust features and tricks which require nurses to have sufficient knowledge to master and discover how to use it to improve their nursing practice effectively, and this is analyzed below.
Understanding How NextGen EHR Is Designed and Works
NextGen EHR is a new technology that is being implemented today in the majority of health institutions across the world. It is because of its high level of efficiency that the majority of healthcare providers prefer to employ this technology in their practice to improve the health outcome of their patients. NextGen EHR is designed in such a way that it enables healthcare providers to exchange patient data through a large disparate system which has been efficient mostly in reducing medication errors in larger healthcare institutions. Healthcare providers, therefore, have ease in accessing the health information of the patients, regardless of their location, within the health facility where they are being treated. As a result, it has become easy for nurses to personalize patient communication and improve healthcare delivery. The main reason NextGen EHR is referred to as an ambulatory EHR solution is that it makes it easy for healthcare providers to access and exchange patient data of all sizes at any given place or time (NextGen Healthcare, n.d.). NextGen EHR can, therefore, be considered a healthcare information system that aims at preventing errors, increasing clinical efficiency among healthcare providers, and reducing healthcare costs.
NextGen EHR was mainly designed for clinicians to enable them to focus more time on the patients instead of spending time on administrative work, which does not in any way improve the health outcome of the patients. Some of the common features of NextGen EHR include automated registry reports, user-friendly chartings, clinical and electronic patient health records system that is highly scalable, and dedicated account care. All the data in this technology can be streamlined and exchanged between the payers, patients, healthcare providers, and health registries. NextGen EHR is also established in such a way that promotes an increased level of patient engagement with healthcare providers. It is because there is a patient portal that is fully functional at all times (NextGen Healthcare, n.d.). The added advantage is that the patient’s portal is available in different languages, such as Chinese, Spanish, English, and many others, which enables the patients to easily understand and access their health information. As a result, the patient portal in NextGen EHR has made it easy for patients to track all their medications, have access to the lab results, send and receive messages from healthcare providers, request their pay bills, manage their appointments with the healthcare providers, and make a request for their prescription to be refilled. Nevertheless, the patient’s portal is well secured to avoid information breaches among people who come to visit or prevent any other third party from accessing the data.
How NextGen EHR Supports S.T.E.E.E.P Principles
S.T.E.E.E.P was established by the Baylor Health Care System as their trademark to ensure that healthcare quality was managed in the institution. As a result, the S.T.E.E.E.P principles are today being prioritized in every healthcare institution to help improve the health outcome of the patients. After a careful analysis of the NextGen EHR, especially how it is designed, it is clear that the technology supports most of the principles of safety, timely, effective, efficient, and patient-centered care. However, it means that NextGen EHR does not support the most equitable principle of healthcare delivery. It is because this principle promotes the provision of care to patients according to their personal characteristics, such as their gender, ethnicity, or income levels.
- The first S.T.E.E.E.P principle is safety and NextGen EHR technology supports this because due to its ambulatory nature, it makes it easy for healthcare providers to have access to patient’s information at any given point, which helps in reducing medication errors and thus guarantees the safety of the patients.
- The technology also supports the second principle which is timely care because it is designed in a way that patient’s data can be retrieved at any given time when needed by the healthcare providers. At the same time, the healthcare providers that use this technology can exchange patient data of all sizes at any given time. For instance, when the patient is transferred to another health facility or is in an intensive care unit, it becomes easy for the healthcare providers to access the patient’s health records on time through the NextGen EHR, thus enabling them to respond first to their health needs. In addition, NextGen EHR is also designed in a way that has made it easy for the patients to follow up on their medications to ensure that they receive them in a timely manner. In case of any delays, they can easily communicate with the healthcare providers through the same technology to remind them of their delayed medication.
- The third S.T.E.E.E.P principle is effective care, and this is particularly the reason why NextGen EHR was designed. It is effective for healthcare providers because of its ambulatory nature, thus offering mobile solutions to healthcare information. As a result, they can have access to a patient’s health information in any place and take the necessary action towards improving the health outcome of the patient. At the same time, NextGen EHR is also effective for patients because of its ability to allow them to have access to their health records and medication (NextGen Healthcare, n.d.). They can also pay their bills in the comfort of their beds before they are discharged or offered specialized treatment. The main reason this is possible is that NextGen EHR is a technology that is designed with several applications that are meant to transform the healthcare experience of both the patients and the healthcare providers.
- The fourth principle of S.T.E.E.E.P is efficiency and NextGen EHR supports it based on the fact that the mobile solutions that it offers to the healthcare providers enable them to optimize the best strategy that they want to employ in response to the patient’s condition. As a result, the majority of healthcare providers have not only improved the quality of care that they provide to the patients but have also managed to save more lives, showing a high level of efficiency promoted by the NextGen EHR technology. At the same, when the patient data is within the reach of the healthcare providers at any given time, they can easily come up with proper analytical services, thus, their actions will be efficient because they will be based on data-driven insights. When this happens, there is a high chance that the health outcome of the patients will be better. It is for this reason that many people believe that NextGen EHR has saved many lives. As the health outcome of the patients improves, it helps in the reduction of costs because the patient will not require extra services from the healthcare providers.
- The last principle of S.T.E.E.E.P is patient-centered care whereby healthcare providers are expected to respond to the patient’s healthcare preferences and needs. NextGen ENH is considered a patient-centered technology because it was established with the primary purpose to improve the health outcome of patients and save more lives. It is for this reason that the health records of the patients are all included in the system to make it easy for healthcare providers to have access to them at any given time. Through this, they can focus on the patient’s condition and come up with analytical approaches that are data-driven to improve the health outcome of the patient. At the same time, the availability of the patient’s health record has helped in reducing medication errors in most healthcare institutions that are employing the NextGen EHR technology in their services.
Negative Impact/Implication of NextGen EHR
In most cases, information technology systems are designed in ways that do not take into consideration the user of the technology. The focus of the developers is on the technological ability to deliver services as it is intended. As a result, they end up having a negative impact on the employee’s practice in the institution that uses specific technologies. NextGen EHR is inefficient because it has a lot of robust features and tricks which require that nurses have sufficient knowledge to master and discover how to use it to improve their nursing practice effectively. As a result, many healthcare workers who do not have the necessary knowledge on how to use the robust features and tricks find it challenging to use the technology in their practice to improve the patient’s health outcome. The majority of the nurses end up feeling frustrated by the system and this can affect their overall output. Some nurses can decide to ignore using NextGen EHR in their nursing practice because of the strains they experience in interpreting the specific features of this technology. However, if the nurses are not able to keep up with the level of productivity that the organization desires, there are high chance that they will be relieved of their duty and another proficient nurse is appointed to replace them. It means that the negative impact of NextGen EHR in the nursing practice is that it reduces their level of efficiency, especially for those nurses who are not able to understand the system’s features.
One of the major challenges nurses face today is the high demand for them to provide quality and safe patient care using the various technologies that health institutions are using. However, some of these nurses have not undergone training to have sufficient knowledge on how to use these technologies. As a result, their level of performance is affected, and this ends up affecting their nursing practice negatively. At the same time, as nurses find it hard to go through the robust features of the system, such as the charting which is somehow cumbersome, they end up wasting time that they could have used to respond to a patient’s need. As a result, the technology may not help them to improve their nursing practice of effective care that ends up improving the health outcome of the patients. Going through the notes that are placed on the side of the technology when a patient needs emergency service may not be helpful in any way because it is time-consuming.
The performance time of the nurses can also be reduced if they are not able to properly understand how the NextGen EHR works. For instance, the nurses will not be able to effectively read and interpret the results of the report leading to ineffective communication. However, when this happens, the possibility of the nurses making errors in terms of response and action taken is also high. The other implication of NextGen EHR technology in nursing practice is that only individuals with the right knowledge on how to effectively use the technology, especially the ability to understand the robust features, will be considered during employment season. Many experienced nurses may, therefore, fail to obtain a promotion or attain a job position in a health institution because they do not have enough knowledge of how to use NextGen EHR. It shows that poorly structured information technology system is one of the factors that are becoming detrimental to nurses’ recruitment and retention in healthcare institutions today.
How the Negative Impact Can Be Reduced
People or organizations make decisions on a daily basis to purchase different technologies with the hope that it will benefit them in one way or another. However, before an organization decides to spend a large sum of money investing in a particular technology, it is important for them to evaluate the reviews by taking into consideration the real-life experiences of the people who are using similar technology. Through this, it becomes easy to gather important information that will lead the managers to make informed decisions. However, if the benefits are higher than the limitation like in the case of NextGen EHR technology, the healthcare managers of the health institution can make the decision to purchase it to bring an overall benefit to the patients and the organization at large.
However, nurses with limited knowledge of how to use the robust features and tricks of the NextGen EHR must be taken through training to solve the inefficiency problem. Through this, the nurses will have the necessary knowledge of how to properly use the technology to improve their nursing practice and the health outcome of the patients. It is important for healthcare institutions that are using NextGen EHR technology to identify the right methods that will help the nurses effectively apply the technology in their practice to maximize their nursing practice. It is for this reason that the technology was bought into the organization in the first place. Every organization that is using any technology to advance its operations should make it a habit to train its employees on a regular basis to improve their level of performance.
When nurses are more knowledgeable about technology like NextGen EHR, they end up accepting it as part of the change process and applying it more in their practice to improve the health outcome of the patients. As a result, nurses do not have to worry about being retained in an organization because of poor application of technology in their nursing practice. Training is also a way to motivate employees to work hard to improve their practice. It is because they develop the feeling that the managers care about their presence in the company and it is the reason they are taking them through training rather than laying them off to employ nurses with better skills. They end up developing favorable perceptions of the technology hence the reason these nurses are more likely to apply NextGen EHR in their practice to improve their services. When the perceptions of the nurses regarding this technology are positive, they end up developing a positive attitude towards it, thus doing everything possible to learn about its robust features. It means that all the organization needs to do is inform the employees about the importance of NextGen EHR and show them how easy it is to understand all its features. Once the nurses are able to master the different aspects of using the technology appropriately after the training process is over, they end up saving more time which they can use to improve the patient’s health outcome. In addition, they will also find it easy to read and understand the manual on how to use the different robust features of NextGen EHR. Through this, their knowledge of the technology improves and their interest in technology leads to them acquiring more information on how best to apply it in their practice to improve the health outcome of the patients.
On the other hand, apart from training, the other solution is to allow the nurses to work in groups to learn from each other how to use the specific features and tricks of NextGen EHR. Through proper interaction with their colleagues, the nurses will identify and learn about the different ways to use technology to improve their health practice and also improve the patient’s health outcome.
Reasons for Selecting This Technology
NextGen EHR has been greatly praised for its high level of efficiency in healthcare institutions. However, nobody is talking about the challenges that they are experiencing in applying this technology to their daily healthcare practice. As a result, I decided to conduct extensive research on NextGen EHR to understand the challenges that healthcare providers find in using it in their daily practice. It means that the reason for selecting this technology was to identify its level of inefficiency and the impacts that it has on the nurse’s practice. The information gathered can be useful to different people especially healthcare organizations that are using NextGen EHR to identify some of the potential challenges that the nurse might find in applying it in their daily practice. Through this, they can consider using the proposed solutions to the problem for the institution to continue benefiting from this technology, which has helped save the lives of several patients.
In conclusion, NextGen EHR’s inefficiency is a result of its robust features and tricks that some nurses find challenging to comprehend, thus limiting their ability to effectively use the technology in their daily practice. Nevertheless, NextGen EHR employs most of the S.T.E.E.E.P principles which makes it efficient in healthcare institutions. As a result, it is important for healthcare managers to find a solution to the inefficiency that some healthcare providers are facing in applying technology to their daily practice. Some of the best methods they can use are training the employees or allowing them to work in groups to learn from each other the basic aspects of using the robust features of NextGen EHR.