There are many reasons why paper charts are still necessary in managing patient flow through a provider practice. It has less to do with information flow and more to do with the ability of the practice to remain fluid, as patients flow through the practice. For example, being able to point and click through a note, thereby documenting a record in 15 minutes, might seem great, but not for those doctors who used to spend two or three minutes jotting down their notes, and then relying on someone else to finish them up, while they went to the next patient. The additional 10 to 12 minutes necessary to electronically document a visit could cost the physician the ability to see another two to three patients, resulting in an impact on productivity. We strongly believe that there are four (4) key methods of engaging these technology solutions from: (1) Crawl, (2) Walk, (3) Run, and/or (4) Fly.

To introduce physicians to the Electronic Health Record (EHR), the Crawl EHR Adoption Strategy is the simplest, and typically the least intrusive, way a provider can use their Electronic Medical Record (EMR) as a management tool. It enables the provider to continue to document on a paper chart and only capture the discrete data elements required to comply with meaningful use. The Meaningful Use data can be entered by the provider directly or a provider extender in this configuration model.

The Crawl EHR Adoption Strategy allows practices to enter the minimal data-set required to meet meaningful use, which is absolutely permissible under the new guidelines. It might appear to be an underutilization of a very powerful tool, but the benefits of the tool have to be equated to practical reality. The technological features and functions are only as useful as their ability to provide a meaningful result in the business.

If you’re a paper-based operation with older physicians who are still more comfortable charting in the way they have been throughout their career, the Crawl EHR Adoption Strategy allows you to meet the new requirements without sacrificing the productivity of your medical providers.

The modules utilized within the Crawl model for Raintree are our scheduler, our patient chart, our document routing and storage system, our workflow manager and all of the provider dashboards. It is an ideal starting point for those that have a high patient and counter volume, which makes dealing with the computer of any type kind of impractical.

In the coming weeks, we’ll talk about the Walk EHR Adoption Strategy, which can be the perfect solution for practices that began with the Crawl strategy or for practices that are ready to implement more EHR tools from the get-go.