Tips to Enhance Productivity for Non-Clinical Staff
Do your front and back office staff a favor: Set defaults in TouchWorks PM
In preparation for an EHR implementation, organizations typically customize notes and templates for the clinical staff as this is the normal course of EHR build and development prior to implementation. The purpose of these customizations is to minimize the number of keystrokes and clicks necessary to complete any given task during the patient visit. Invariably when we roll out an EHR, we also implement a new practice management (PM) system as well and go through a similar build and development phase prior to actual go live.
During this PM development phase, we build and customize back end master tables so they represent the organization in terms of departmental units, locations, providers, resources, procedures, schedules, diagnoses and claims data. While these master tables are the backbone of the PM system and we can automate much in this area, there are additional opportunities for automation to eliminate keystrokes for the front and back office staff alike, just as we do for our clinicians in the EHR.
Save keystrokes during the build process
During the initial build of the PM, the Master tables are developed based on the specific organization’s needs. Much thought must go into building these tables so that any negative downstream effects are understood and hopefully, avoided. However, when building the Master tables, serious consideration should be given to each opportunity to set as many organizational defaults as possible. A prime example is the Master table, Practice Options. Within this one Master table are over 30 global defaults that can be set in the areas of:
- General Options
- Charge Entry
- Payment Entry
While Master tables can be used to set many global defaults, there is even more opportunity to automate functions for front and back office staff within each module. Unlike the global defaults that are set in Master tables, these defaults are user specific.
While automation and customization is critical to increasing usability for providers in the EHR, we cannot stop there. We must remember to give that same thought and attention to our PM system so that we can increase usability for our non-clinical staff as well. Talk to and question staff.
Inquire whether they know about these time-saving defaults. If they do not know about them, show them, and explore additional time savers as a team. We all understand that as end users and supporter of the PM system, there is much we cannot control. However, automating and simplifying everyday processes setting a few, simple defaults can produce positive effects in terms of both productivity and staff satisfaction.