Nurses’ dominance of electronic health record users has seen a sharp decline since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers say..
BECAUSE IT IS IMPORTANT
Nearly 16,000 nurses from 35 healthcare organizations responded to a survey about their experience with EHRs, and the results were found in KLAS Research’s Arch Collaborative Nursing Guidebook 2022. Those results showed a significant drop, with only 59% of nurses surveyed in 2022 finding continuing education helpful compared to 71% of those surveyed in 2020.
The urgency to develop the user domain is clear, the KLAS researchers said.
Nurses in radiology, pediatric and neonatal intensive care units, and procedural and behavioral health settings reported having difficulty with the EHR “and tend to disagree [that] their EHR has the functionality they need,” according to the guide.
Nurses in these areas would particularly benefit from better onboarding, ongoing training, inclusion in governance, and increased communication efforts.
“Many would benefit from reassessing how their training and education programs prepare nurses for daily EHR use while also coping with the inevitable EHRs and related environmental changes,” the researchers say.
The guide includes steps healthcare organizations can take to launch pilot programs to address EHR satisfaction and a series of evidence-based practice discussions with links to case studies for implementing best practices in three categories:
Communications and engagement strategy best practices, including nursing representation in IT, use of superusers, and EHR and governance changes.
Best practice recommendations for EHR onboarding/initial education on training time, content, trainer quality, and training methods.
EHR continuing education perspectives that address frequency, IT rounding, and the use of virtual training.
Chief among the engagement strategies are recommendations to include nurses in EHR management and decision-making because organizations with multidisciplinary teams see higher satisfaction with EHRs. Governance leaders should allow affected nurses and other stakeholders to rate the expected effectiveness of proposed changes to the EHR.
Allowing frontline nurses to make EHR requests is also a good practice, according to the guidance.
“Organizations should focus on helping nurses get to the root of the problem and then work together with analysts to find a solution,” the researchers said. “Doing this helps build relationships between the IT staff and the nurses.”
This is the first Arch Collaborative book Guide focus exclusively on nurses, according to a representative who approached Healthcare IT News.
THE BIGGEST TREND
Last year, a study focused on nurse burnout that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association had nurses rate EHR usability F.
Many nurses are considering leaving the health care profession, and not just because of the staffing crisis accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Shawn Sefton, director of nursing and vice president of client services at Hospital IQ.
Sefton spoke with Healthcare IT News in March about a report that showed 90% of nurses surveyed said they plan to leave the profession.
“Given the breadth of the current health care workforce crisis in this country, the results were both alarming and illuminating,” Sefton said.
One reason is that nurses want health systems to streamline and automate manual workflows.
“Outdated, inefficient and manual workflows and communication processes consume too much of nurses’ time and attention, and make effective and efficient coordination of care across units and teams nearly impossible,” Sefton said.
IN THE REGISTRY
“Nurses should have the opportunity to make mistakes in a safe environment and learn how to respond to some of the most challenging documentation issues that can come up in their area of work,” KLAS said. The Arch Collaborative guide advises.
“While nurses’ satisfaction with the EHR is likely not the main driver of burnout and job satisfaction, it does appear to be a very important part of a nurse’s overall job satisfaction. We continue to see strong associations between satisfaction with EHR, satisfaction with EHR training, and an individual’s self-reported burnout levels and potential turnover,” said report author Jacob Jeppson, a data scientist with the Arch Collaborative.
Andrea Fox is a senior editor for Healthcare IT News.
Healthcare IT News is published by HIMSS.