If you own a car or house, you know that deferred maintenance can save you a few bucks in the short term but may cost you in the long run.
The same is true for maintenance of your EHR system.
As part of its standard release cycle, Oracle Cerner pushes new code to its customers on a regular basis. But hospitals and health systems—for a variety of reasons—may defer on activating select new features or workflows that are considered optional as part of these standard code releases.
If organizations repeatedly ignore or defer on activating these enhancements, they could be missing optimization opportunities that add value in the form of financial improvement, clinical quality, patient outcomes, user satisfaction, and increased ROI.
To play catch up on these opportunities—or at least to get a sense of what you might be missing—an optimization assessment is a simple first step.
Common Clues That It’s Time for an EHR Optimization Assessment
There are a number of common clues that it may be time to consider an optimization assessment for your Oracle Cerner EHR system. These include:
- Frustration from providers about their workflow. Are providers having difficulty finding the information they need, completing tasks in a timely manner, or using the system in a way that is efficient and effective? Physicians may not be getting full benefit from updates to Oracle Cerner’s Dynamic Documentation capabilities, MPages or Depart workflows.
- Potential to improve nursing workflow. Nurses will use what is given to them but may be unaware of new system capabilities that must first be configured and activated by the organization. PowerForms, iView, CareCompass, and MPages are common areas that fall behind.
- Concerns about revenue capture. If the CFO or Director of Patient Financial Services is expressing concerns about the organization’s ability to capture all charges, revenue, or claims for each service line, an optimization assessment can help identify and address any gaps in the revenue cycle.
- Prioritization of one user group over another. Certain departments may have a bigger voice than others in determining IT priorities. An optimization assessment can help ensure that ancillary users and supporting departments, like Materials Management for example, have the systems and tools they need to be successful.
How to Get Started with an Oracle Cerner EHR Assessment
If you are considering an optimization assessment for your Oracle Cerner EHR system, there are a few things you can do to get started:
- Bring subject matter experts from each area together to discuss their pain points and to document their wish lists for enhancements.
- Work with your IT department or an experienced consultancy to do a comprehensive review of past code releases with an eye toward identifying features or updates not yet being utilized.
- Check Lights on Network or other dashboards to see how your organization compares to others.
- Ask Oracle Cerner or a 3rd party expert for help in reviewing your current system.
There is cost and effort associated with implementing new code, changing workflows, and re-training end users on new features. That’s why we recommend a structured governance process to annually assess code updates and rationalize cost-benefit decisions regarding the activation of new features.
The consultants at Healthcare IT Leaders are Oracle Cerner experts. Contact us to assist with your assessment and optimization needs.
Jim Beezley is Director of Cerner Solutions for Healthcare IT Leaders. Jim has led multiple, large-scale client engagements, supporting health system leaders with strategic goal setting & road-mapping, migration from legacy systems, implementations, optimizations, and user adoption.