Why Visual Matters …
CONWAY, NH — The Echo Group has produced software products for the behavioral health market since 1980 and since that time, many new electronic health records have entered the scene.
Lately we’ve been making a pretty bold statement … that Echo has the best EHR for Behavioral Health.
Why is simple … it’s visual. I’ll elaborate more on this idea of a visual EHR in a minute. But first, let’s set the stage for why it matters.
I’ve performed over 60 business process consultations with behavioral health organizations from Barrow, Alaska to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. When I work with these organizations transitioning from competitor products to Echo’s EHR, there’s a universal theme — staff have a hard time warming up to using an electronic health record.
You might think, “What’s the big deal? …” Use paper or make the staff comply with what you have. But it is a big deal.
Poor system utilization by staff means service data collection is incomplete and this means lousy data. Lousy data is not just an intellectual idea. It leads to lost billing revenue, inaccurate reporting that can’t reliably support management decisions, clinical documentation that creates legal and financial risk for your organization and the loss of a vital clinical tool.
Reflect on these points in your organization and you can do the math on both the financial and people impact of your inadequate electronic health record.
You might also think “Get a better EHR …” Good idea, but let’s consider that for a moment.
The current state of EHR technology appears to significantly worsen professional satisfaction for many physicians–sometimes in ways that raise concerns about effects on patient care. Physicians look forward to future EHRs that will solve current problems of data entry, difficult user interfaces, and information overload.” RAND: EHR usability a ‘unique and vexing’ challenge to doc satisfaction
Intuitive is a word that gets thrown around a lot but most vendors can’t point to how their EHR is intuitive, let alone more so than any other. Some role-specific EHR views professed to help workflow and that seems like a good idea. But the reality is that most EHRs are structured essentially the same — an assembly of layered screens and tabs along with columns and rows of code-based data. In my experience, products designed like this require a lot training to use effectively. And that also means remedial training.
People often can’t remember where the data is hidden in all that navigation. And if they can recall where to find the information, many mouse clicks make that data not actionable for clinical work, true alerting, and decision support.
And here it is …
The Echo Group’s electronic health record is called the Visual Health Record, or VHR. The VHR takes all of the data that typically lives in layers of navigation, spreadsheet views, and arcane codes, and presents it in an at-a-glance understandable visual format.
It’s amazingly intuitive and enormously flexible with a user-group specific chart defined on the left side of the screen and the relevant data presented in a time line view with simple and understandable icons and bars to convey information.
Getting essential information often requires no mouse clicks at all. Otherwise, one click will usually get you what you need and allow you to complete required tasks and data entry.
Different parts of the chart are fully integrated and organized along the timeline and in relationship to each other lending true clinical understanding to precipitating events and treatment activities. Workflow and alerting are natural to the layout of the system.