How AI Driven EHRs Can Make RN Jobs Less Stressful
There is a new kind of stress emerging in the healthcare field. It is known as EHRs stress, and it is the direct result of electronic health record systems that lack standardization and are too difficult to use. Registered nurses (RNs) are among those who deal with it most often.
Washington instituted the use of EHRs with the HITECH Act in 2009. Some 11 years later, EHR systems still do not function as well as they should. Different vendors are competing with proprietary EHR solutions developed largely from an IT perspective rather than a healthcare perspective. RNs are left with the task of adapting their workflow to their EHRs systems rather than the other way around.
Fixing the situation will require rethinking how EHR software is developed. At the top of the list of priorities is building artificial intelligence (AI) into new systems. A recent story published by Healthcare IT News suggests that developers are already working on AI-driven EHRs.
What Causes EHR Burnout
The Healthcare IT News piece explains that EHR burnout is a combination of several factors, beginning with nurses having to complete repetitive data-related tasks mandated by their EHRs system. Nurses find themselves searching and documenting records when they should be caring for patients, causing frustration and increasing stress.
Workflow is another problem. EHRs systems work a lot like the billing systems that predated them. Unfortunately, billing software is designed for the accountant’s workflow, not the nurse’s. Today’s EHRs systems force a counterintuitive workflow on nurses, thus making more work for the EHR and less time for patient care.
How AI Changes the Game
Artificial intelligence, as a technology, is based on the principle of analyzing data and drawing conclusions without direct human input. AI has proven itself in a variety of ways, including predictive analytics. Its predictive capabilities are especially attractive in the medical field.
Health Jobs Nationwide explains that RN jobs in the modern era are equal parts patient care and administration. AI is being introduced as a means of reducing the administrative burden so that RNs can get back to patient care.
For example, an AI-powered system can dramatically reduce the amount of human input necessary to complete repetitive documentation. It can improve workload management, resource allocation, and even bed management. By analyzing data and predicting how resources are best used, an AI-powered system makes the healthcare delivery environment more efficient.
Build What Nurses Need
Building a better EHR system begins with finding out what nurses actually need. According to Healthcare IT News, nurses represent the single largest group of workers in the healthcare sector. They are the ones most likely to use EHRs most often. Their input is definitely needed.
Nurses are the ones capable explaining to software developers why EHR burnout exists. They are the ones who can explain what a better EHRs system would look like, how it would operate, etc. Building new systems without nurse input just doesn’t make sense.
Build a Standardized Environment
Along with nurse input, EHR development also needs a new foundation of industry standards. EHRs cannot be separated entirely from billing, nor should they be, but standards are necessary if the two are to be integrated successfully. Any such standardization should start with simplification.
Simplified billing codes are a must. Standardization in the way records are presented is also critical, as is a more user-friendly system that works with nurses rather than against them. Only when every EHR system is built on the same foundation and achieves the same goals will there be any hope of significantly reducing EHR burnout.