Too often, physicians are doing work that non-physicians can do, which means the doctors are not working up to their license, says Simeon Schwartz, M.D., president of 10-site WESTMED Medical Group in Purchase, N.Y.

The electronic health records system is partly to blame, either because the EHR improperly assigns work, or captures information that is not of value, he notes. Every discrete data entered by a physician costs time. But optimizing the EHR, such as reviewing forms to determine if the correct information is being captured, can improve physician productivity.

During a session at the MGMA Conference in Las Vegas, Oct. 26-29, Schwartz will walk through the need for optimizing and WESTMED’s strategies. He believes practice workflow is more efficient when physicians are supervising and not required to enter a lot of data. Scribes, however, are not the answer as they are inefficient and expensive. EHR e-prescribing workflows, however, can be changed to let physicians complete the task with one click and have nurses handle prescription refills.

The system can be further streamlined by optimizing the EHR around pathways of care by bringing analytics to the point of care, which optimizes decision making. Optimization is an ongoing process; there always is more to do, Schwartz says. WESTMED has been tweaking its GE Centricity EHR for many years, he adds, “and we’re only scratching the surface.”

In the age of accountable care, providers can no longer tolerate an inefficient EHR, Schwartz asserts. “Organizations being responsible for efficient, quality and coordinated care can’t do it without an optimized EHR.”

The session, “Optimizing Your EMR to Improve Productivity,” is scheduled at 10:15 a.m. on Oct. 27 in room N237.

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