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EHR Usability, User Satisfaction High in Ambulatory Surgery Centers

Almost all care organizations that have implemented ambulatory surgery center EHR systems report high EHR usability and clinician satisfaction.

Almost all healthcare organizations that have implemented ambulatory surgery center (ASC) EHR systems report high clinician satisfaction and EHR usability, according to a recent KLAS report.

As more medical care moves to ambulatory settings, ASCs are gaining momentum. While most ASCs currently use paper-based clinical documentation, some EHR vendors have come out with ASC-specific solutions or integrated ambulatory solutions for specialty and general care settings.

EHR vendors HST Pathways and Surgical Information Systems (SIS) are commonly used among surgical specialties. The KLAS report found that 86 percent of HST Pathways customers are satisfied or very satisfied with the health IT. Respondents that use HST noted that the system allows for the creation of specialty-specific workflows, which increases EHR usability.

Similarly, 89 percent of respondents are satisfied or very satisfied with the SIS system.  SIS customers said that the health IT is easy to use, and that building templates is a “self-explanatory experience,” one customer said.

Both vendors’ customers reported that new users learn the EHR system quickly and that the code/build quality is very high, which leads to few system disturbances.

For ease of use, respondents gave HST and SIS near-perfect scores (8.6 and 8.7, respectively, on a nine-point scale).

HST Pathways customers reported that the health IT’s ease of use allows them to get through encounters effectively and focus on patient-centered care. Providers also reported appreciation for the system’s built-in features that ensure documentation is complete.

While SIS customers noted a substantial amount of front-end work to make the EHR usable, they reported that it is worthwhile in the back-end. The EHR presents relevant clinical information at the point of care in a digestible format for clinical decision support, according to the report.

EHR vendors Provation and Modernizing Medicine are commonly used in gastrointestinal (GI) care settings.

Provation users who have implemented the tool for GI report high EHR usability due to the system’s customizable nature.

Additionally, respondents noted that the overall clinical documentation process is straightforward and provides clinicians with access to actionable clinical information at the point of care. For instance, images and pathology results seamlessly integrate into the medical record.

However, just 44 percent of organizations that leverage the Modernizing Medicine EHR in GI rate their overall satisfaction 80 or above (out of 100). Two-thirds of the EHR vendor’s customers feel nickel-and-dimed, particularly those who purchased gMed several years ago. These customers cite upgrade fees and extra costs for functionality they feel should be included in the health IT system.

Additionally, some respondents reported functionality issues and slow problem resolution from support staff.

Most of the feedback on NextGen Healthcare’s EHR system ASC module comes from opthamology practices. While most smaller organizations reported feeling like the module has the functionality they need, they reported frustration with the amount of work needed to customize the module.

More-satisfied organizations, which tended to be larger practices with additional health IT resources, reported that the module is customizable and functional.

The report highlighted several gaps in ASC EHR system functionalities. HST and SIS customers mentioned issues with built-in anesthesia documentation; one respondent each for Modernizing Medicine and Provation also cited this issue.

Several HST respondents reported challenges with the anesthesia integration when the equipment is not HL7 compliant. While SIS has an anesthesia module, many users have not yet adopted it and are completing anesthesia documentation on paper.

Provation recently acquired iProcedures with the intent to better address anesthesia gaps.

Despite these functionality problems, nearly all interviewed organizations, regardless of vendor, feel their EHR system provides almost all capabilities they need to effectively document, the KLAS report concluded.

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