I’m writing today to share my thoughts about how to improve EMR user satisfaction through a better understanding of the user’s clinical roles and responsibilities, and how they impact EMR configuration and training.
Allow me to explain. Imagine you see a group of people with white coats and stethoscopes, eating lunch together. What are their needs? Are they all one kind of provider, or different providers? How could you tell them apart? And even if you could somehow tell them apart, how would you know exactly what their EMR configuration and training needs are?
Most clinical people think of these as small details. To them, clinical roles seem fairly intuitive, and credentialing seems like little more than a time-intensive requirement to ‘do paperwork’ before you can begin working clinically. Both of these are common misunderstandings.
The truth is that clinical roles in modern healthcare are very nuanced, each with their own clinical functions and supervisions needs, and so your exact clinical role and responsibilities have an enormous impact on your EMR configuration and training needs. Without a clear understanding of your clinical role and responsibilities, it’s very challenging to provide the right EMR configuration and training, which can lead to frustrated end users.
So to help improve EMR configuration, training, and user satisfaction, I thought I’d offer this little blog post to help you understand how clinical role terminology, supervision requirements, and onboarding/credentialing questions can help improve EMR configuration and training, as well as end-user satisfaction.
So in short, we’ll discuss some basics about four topics:
- What is a Doctor (Physician)? What are the different types of Doctors (Physicians), and when/how are they supervised?
- What is an Advanced Practice Provider (APP)? What are the different types, and when/how are they supervised?
- What is a Provider (Prescriber)?
- What kind of questions can you ask during on-boarding/credentialing to help make sure you fully understand the provider’s role and responsibilities, so you can better anticipate their needs and provide great configuration and EMR training?
Let’s get started!
What Is a Doctor (Physician)?
For those of us who have been through medical training, this all seems fairly intuitive. You finish medical school, get through internship, complete your residency, and many docs continue through a fellowship (subspecialty) training, before becoming an Attending Physician. And along the way, you will work with lots of great Advanced Practice Providers (APPs) including Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), Physician Assistants (PAs), and others.
But imagine if you weren’t clinical. Looking at a group of people with white coats and stethoscopes, how could an administrative or IT person tell them apart? It helps to have some good definitions to work with!
Let’s start by looking at what exactly is a “Doctor” (Physician).
Note that the supervision model above requires a number of workflow configurations in an EMR. Most commonly, with orders and clinical documentation (notes):
- Which order(s) WILL require an attending countersignature?
- Which order(s) will NOT require an attending countersignature?
- Which note(s) WILL require an attending countersignature?
- Which note(s) will NOT require an attending countersignature?
- Knowing the EMR will function differently for Residents, Fellows, and Attendings, how will the EMR be configured for Fellows who sometimes moonlight as Attending providers?
In addition to a clear understanding of these roles, responsibilities, and configuration differences, it’s also important that an organization have an easy way of knowing when doctors change their roles. (July 1 is not a guarantee that a doctor’s clinical role will change!)
What is an Advanced Practice Provider?
With the expansion of medical technology and clinical specialties in the 1970s and 1980s, came a new set of providers who could help ‘extend’ the reach of the attending physician, including Advanced Practice Providers (APPs), such as:
These roles also have unique EMR configuration and training needs, which are highly dependent on the supervision needs, which often depend on state regulations. Like Doctors/Physicians, having a clear understanding of these clinical roles and their supervision needs is key in providing the proper configuration, security, and training.
So What Exactly Is a “Provider” (Prescriber)?
To put this all together, we can now represent the Doctors (Resident, Fellow, and Attending Physicians) and APPs as a common set of Providers (Prescribers), each with a DEA number and prescriptive authority, but with different supervision needs and expectations:
Again, this catch-all term can be helpful, especially for pharmacies that want to provide services to all of these roles. It’s not as helpful in legal/billing scenarios, where usually the Supervising Attending Provider (1c) (and sometimes the independent APRN!) are more commonly the focus of discussion.
Credentialing and EMR Configuration Support
So we’ve discussed how these clinical roles impact EMR security, configuration, and training. What other questions can you ask, to better anticipate a user’s clinical needs, configuration needs, and training needs? While it may not be comprehensive, I recently drafted this list of questions you might ask a provider during on-boarding and credentialing, to better understand and anticipate their clinical, academic, research, and administrative needs:
Again, this list of questions may not be comprehensive, but it helps show how good credentialing and provider on-boarding can help health IT leaders better understand a user’s clinical, administrative, research, and academic roles, and anticipate the specific needs for each role.
I hope this was helpful in shedding some light on these important topics! Remember, it’s the details that matter.
Also, please note that this blog post is for academic and educational discussion only. Always check with your local Legal, Compliance, and Clinical Informatics experts for guidance in your own organization. If you have any feedback or thoughts, please feel free to share them.