How Transcription Can Address EHR or EMR Productivity Loss

The discussion around electronic health records (EHRs) can be divisive. Some hail it as the savior of the medical documentation process, while other healthcare professionals rue the day EHR came into their workplace. Even studies on EHR and its effects on patient care and physician burnout rates find conflicting results. No matter the opinion, though, one thing is certain: things can be better. 

Transcription is already a core aspect of healthcare, and its several benefits are uniquely tuned to improving EHR implementation and health information technology in general. 

In this article, you’ll learn how: 

  • Electronic health records (EHR) and electronic medical records (EMR) are health information management systems that assist physicians and hospitals in documentation. They’ve replaced outdated paper files for outpatient and inpatient visits, diagnostic processes, and all other medical events connected to patient encounters. These two have several differences, and they offer many advantages.
  • EHR and EMR systems have been found to negatively impact user experience, which is the opposite of their intended effect. Doctors have reported a loss of productivity and burnout due to the extensive documentation demands of these systems.
  • Medical transcription—converting audio files into text—answers EHR and EMR productivity issues. Trusted providers like Ditto Transcripts can produce accurate documents and seamlessly integrate with EHR/EMR systems to take the documentation burden off doctors’ shoulders. 

What Are EHR or EMR Systems?

EHR (Electronic Health Record) and EMR (Electronic Medical Record) systems are computerized versions of patients’ paper charts in a healthcare setting. The concept largely depends on data entry for specific parts of hospital or clinical encounters. Both systems are designed explicitly to improve efficiency and productivity, streamline the documentation process, and enhance communication between healthcare providers, but they differ in several ways, like:

AspectEMR (Electronic Medical Records)EHR (Electronic Health Records)
Primary FocusPrimarily focused on the medical data from one provider’s office.Designed to contain and share information from all providers involved in a patient’s care.
Scope of InformationLimited to the clinical data like medical history, diagnoses, medications, treatment plans, immunization dates, allergies, and test results within one practice.Includes a broader view of a patient’s care, encompassing data from multiple clinicians and encounters, including coding, and can be shared with other healthcare settings, like laboratories and specialists.
PortabilityGenerally, it is not designed to be shared outside the individual practice.Created to be easily shared and accessed by multiple healthcare practitioners and settings.
PurposeAimed at streamlining the workflow and enhancing the efficiency of healthcare providers within a single practice or organization.Facilitates coordinated care, improved health outcomes, and enhanced patient engagement by providing a comprehensive record accessible to all relevant healthcare providers.
InteroperabilityLimited interoperability, mainly used for internal purposes within a single office or clinic.High interoperability allows for easy data exchange and better coordinated care among healthcare providers. It can also be used for insurance reimbursement. 
Patient AccessTypically, patients do not have direct access to EMRs.EHRs are often designed to include patient portals, which offer patients direct access to their health records, enabling them to view their personal information and test results.
Legal UsageEMRs are mainly used as a digital version of paper charts within a clinic and for diagnosis and treatment by healthcare providers.EHRs are used for sharing information with other healthcare providers and organizations and for legal, quality, and outcome analysis purposes.
Focus on CareMore focused on diagnosis and treatment.Focuses on the patient’s overall health, going beyond standard clinical data and including a broader picture.
Data FormatOften contains structured data that is not easily shared with other systems or providers.Typically, it includes structured and unstructured data, making it more versatile for various healthcare needs.
Future TrendsIt is seen as a stepping stone towards a more comprehensive EHR system. Increasingly being integrated into or replaced by EHR systems.It is seen as the future of patient information management, with increasing emphasis on interoperability, patient engagement, and comprehensive healthcare delivery.

The Benefits of EHR and EMR System Adoption

Like any new technology, EHRs and EMRs bring a lot to the table. Here are some of the notable advantages of such systems:

  • Enhanced Patient Care
  • Streamlined Processes
  • Quick Access to Patient Records
  • Improved Communication
  • Efficient Documentation
  • Reduced Duplication of Testing
  • Enhanced Privacy and Security
  • Cost Efficiency
  • Better Management of Chronic Diseases
  • Compliance with Regulations
  • Comprehensive Health Information
  • Coordination of Care
  • Improved Diagnostics and Patient Outcomes
  • Patient Empowerment
  • Data Analytics and Reporting
  • Improved Prescription and Order Management
  • Legal and Regulatory Compliance
  • Reduced Medical Errors
  • Facilitation of Public Health and Research
  • Scalability and Flexibility

The Dark Side Of EHR and EMR: Physician Burnout And Loss of Productivity

Electronic health record (EHR) user experience influences. Source: Authors’ analysis of environmental factors contributing to EHR end-user experience as documented in current literature.

Source: The complex case of EHRs: examining the factors impacting the EHR user experience

Like with everything else, there are two sides to EHRs and EMRs. Yes, they offer significant advantages over paper documents and ostensibly help physicians and other professionals working in the healthcare industry. However, electronic health record implementation has had some pushback, and several studies have found startlingly negative effects. 

Almost 50%

Sinsky et al., in their study titled “Allocation of physician time in ambulatory practice,” found that some doctors spend an alarming amount of time documenting patient encounters. According to them, physicians spend 27% of their day in exam rooms facing patients and 49.2% on EHR and desk work. This study only involved 57 U.S. physicians in different specialties, so it might not represent the general state of the medical industry.

Still, spending half their day on EHR tasks can impact patient satisfaction, and we can immediately establish that EHR and EMR implementation are not yet perfectly aligned with their intended results and are leading to a distinct lack of productivity gains. Several studies have reported physicians displaying burnout symptoms due to EHR’s increased documentation workload. Another study found that doctors spend more than six hours interacting with healthcare systems and documentation tools—which happens before, during, and after work hours. 

In this study, Arndt et al. identified several critical areas in EHR-related work that can be delegated to others to improve productivity. To add to these findings, Tutty et al. state, “There are multiple opportunities for regulators, policymakers, EHR developers, payers, health system leadership, and users each to make changes to improve the use and efficacy of EHRs collectively.”

The verdict points out that EHR in and of itself is not enough to improve productivity and avoid burnout. We’d need something impactful to address all the headaches it causes to physician-patient encounters. 

This is where medical transcription services can step in. 

Reduce The Negative Impact of EHR and EMR Using Transcription

Medical transcription is the process of turning audio or video files taken in a healthcare setting and transcribing them into digital text formats. The process is widely adopted in the medical industry due to its usability and marked improvements in the clinical documentation process. Transcription can answer all your EHR woes—if you find a reliable service provider. 

Thankfully, Ditto Transcripts is here to offer healthcare professionals the best medical transcription services. We guarantee 99% accuracy in all projects, significantly reducing the chances of errors in EHR documentation. 

On top of that, we have fast turnaround times to improve clinical productivity and increase patient volume, flexible rates that fit different budgets and deadlines, and some of the best customer service in any industry you care to name. 

Here’s How We Do It

Some might wonder how converting audio into text can help with EHRs or EMRs. After all, these systems have many boxes and fields that must be filled out individually. This is true for even the most user-friendly ones. 

Let me outline our process to answer the question: 

  1. Doctors, nurses, and medical staff can dictate patient information, chart notes, histories, treatment plans, medication, and other relevant EHR data.
  2. Audio recordings through dictation mobile apps or other means are sent to us via our secure cloud interface.
  3. We assign a skilled medical transcriptionist to produce and proofread the transcripts. Transcribed dictations are converted into PDFs, RTFs, or other text file formats as required.
  4. We send the completed work back to you. The transcripts, formatted into structured EHR templates, allow your system to read and auto-populate proper text fields using an HL7 interface. 
  5. As Ditto is HIPAA-compliant, this process complies with its security protocols and falls within the Meaningful Use criteria. 

This process removes the need to force doctors and nurses to spend hours and hours typing away at their devices. Medical professionals can focus on their jobs without carrying the documentation burden throughout their day. Physician practices can see more patients and have more time to live their lives when they clock out. 

The Various Benefits Of Ditto’s Medical Transcription

With Ditto’s accurate, affordable, and high-quality services, your practice can reap the benefits of EHR/EMR transcription with little to no downsides. Aside from seamless implementation for EHR use, our services come with the following perks: 

  • 99% guaranteed accuracy
  • 100% human-powered transcription
  • Increased time efficiency
  • HIPAA and legal compliance
  • Accessibility during and after normal business hours (8 am to 5 pm Mountain Time)
  • Access to experienced transcriptionists
  • Affordability
  • Improved workflow
  • Enhanced patient care

So what are you waiting for? Sign up for our transcription services and use your EHR and EMR to their full potential.

Ditto Transcripts is a HIPAA-compliant Denver, Colorado-based transcription services company that provides fast, accurate, and affordable transcripts for individuals and companies of all sizes. Call (720) 287-3710 today for a free quote, and ask about our free five-day trial.

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