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EHR Customization – the Key to Better Results?

Dovetail EHR

The shift away from paper and towards software has changed a lot of things in the healthcare industry. It has influenced workflows, changed how medical professionals maintain case documentation and made it easier for practices to handle the growing volume of patients. The EHR software offers many advantages over the traditional filing systems and eliminate quite a few expenses associated with paper.

One such benefit is the standardization of data. With any EHR software, doctors can be sure that they have captured all the necessary details for each patient. It reduces the probability of missing or inaccurate information. Some EHRs even have prompts that pop up to ensure that nothing is overlooked. Unfortunately the flip side of the coin is that many of these programs do not allow any kind of flexibility. This is even more true with traditional on premise software but today’s more modern EHRs services are changing that notion.

EHR Customization Vs. Personalization

Personalization is the buzzword among technology enabled products and services like the music app your phone. Although many people use customization and personalization interchangeably, there is a big difference between the two terms. The crucial difference is that customization is user specific and gives you control over what can be changed. Personalization is automatic and takes place behind the scenes, usually with algorithms and software programming.

While personalization may be a desirable goal in consumer software, customization is more appropriate for the nature of EHR software. Dentists and other dental professionals know what they want in an EHR. Personalization can be hit or miss and fine-tuning the results is often about trial and error. However with customization, you – the user – have control.

The ability to customize your EHR can be an invaluable tool when managing your patient files. It is one of the main reasons why selecting an EHR that is targeted towards your clinic’s specialty is better than an all-in-one product. A dental practice will want to store different types of data as compared to a dermatologist or cardiologist. If your EHR targets dental practices, you’ll find that it suits your workflows out of the box. You don’t have to create workarounds are constantly change settings to adapt to your processes.

EHR customization takes this concept one step further. Even if you have an EHR that is targeted towards your type of practice, you might still have some data that does not fit in any of the given fields. The ability to record, manage and retrieve such data can make a world of difference for users. Some EHRs do have certain fields like comments or notes where you can store such information. Unfortunately finding it when you need it is much more difficult. You have to wade through pages of patient information to find that one small item. You may not be able to search for it like you would other types of fields like dates or demographics.

Some vendors are taking the leap towards giving users the ability to customize their EHRs as they see fit. What this means is that you can create custom fields are just about any type of data you can think of. This can mean a simple text box, a drop-down list, a checkbox or even a yes or no question. You can store patient preferences like their preferred brand of floss or toothpaste. Do you have a patient who likes to watch a specific channel while they are in the clinic? Jot down that information and use it to make your patient experience better.

As with anything else, EHR customization is not a silver bullet that can solve all your problems. However it is an important step towards a future where EHRs play a much more vital role in healthcare.