Is that even the right phrase?
Because of how the systems are all set up at my office (by corporate mandate) we have a ton of moving parts. Healthcare is complicated anyway but our system makes it much, much more difficult:
The staff has to schedule in one program. But they also have to check the EHR (electronic health record) to make sure there is not something else of concern in there, like a pop up that says to schedule an appointment for that patient for 30 minutes instead of the typical 15 minutes. I have access to the EHR, I do not have access to the scheduling program.
Charges are posted manually in another separate billing system.
Lab tests have to have the orders entered in the EHR but you have to log into a separate lab program to print out the orders and specimen labels.
There is a separate patient “portal” system that has to be checked throughout the day where patients can send messages. It does not streamline into the EHR seamlessly. In fact, notifications that there is a waiting message do not come through until the next day so someone has to constantly be checking it to make sure we don’t miss something. If a patient makes a change in the portal system, like to their preferred pharmacy, I have to manually change that in the EHR.
Patients are allowed to cancel or confirm their appointments by phone or text but that means someone in my office has to comb through the info and manually cancel those appointments.
There is an online mailbox that takes appointment requests and questions from the clinic website that has to be monitored twice daily.
Toss in two answering machines that kick in when the phone volume is too high.
We have three regular fax machines and an e-fax that have to be monitored.
Instant messenger on the computer that we have to use to communicate urgent things to each other.
All of the phone lines.
There is a physician “dashboard” on a website that we are supposed to log in to every month to check out our numbers and do various tasks like read corporate selected articles and answer questions.
I have my phone which also functions as my pager when I am on call.
The hospital system has their own separate EHR system that I have to access for patient records.
Data fatigue is real, folks.
This is too, too much for a human being to keep track of. Finding staff that can handle this sort of mix is impossible from a 20 minute interview. It invites error and is getting dangerous. A new EHR will help to some degree by consolidating (hopefully) the scheduling, lab orders, portal system, and billing together into the EHR, but there is still all of the other stuff to keep track of and the change is a year away.
Meanwhile, my brain does not like it. I cannot focus on the patient problems like I need to. While they are talking I am racing around the EHR trying to click all of the required buttons or trying to address the IM from the front desk saying a patient wants their forms completed RIGHT NOW. I have to force my brain to focus on the voice, to stay on what they are saying instead of multitasking or worrying if my staff checked the online mailbox this morning….
“I’m sorry. How long have you had that pain did you say?”
I don’t know if we can make it a year.