The dynamic world of orthopedics is anything but constant.  It is a world that changes from day-to-day, and as a result team professionals must be adaptive to the changing stages in care.  Orthopedic professionals have gained countless benefits from the complete integration of electronic medical record software strategically designed for the orthopedic workflow.

Orthopedics, like most departments of a hospital or healthcare facility, contends with highly specific measures of care.  The overall goals may be the same as other departments in a hospital, in terms of patient care and streamlined revenue procedures, but some operations are highly specific to orthopedics.

EHR Features Specific to Orthopedics

Specific features for orthopedics workflow in an electronic health record system include the following:

•    Disability issue notation
•    Extensive imaging capabilities of the skeletal system
•    Interfacing capabilities with EMG and x-ray equipment
•    Permanent impairment notation capabilities
•    Reporting for litigation attorneys
•    Work status reports

These are just some of the workflow specific features of the EHR system as it relates to orthopedics.  Many operations can be designed specifically for the clinic or orthopedic department.  Templates are offered to make the system extremely efficient.  These templates may include ACL planning, hip procedures, cast removal operations or total knee recognition and x-rays.

Things to Remember During the Integration Process

The implementation process can be eventful in any orthopedic office or department and as a result, keeping the lines of communication open between staff and doctors can be helpful.  It is important to remember that in any organization there will always be those who resist change, especially when integrating a full system overhaul.  The key thing to remember during this process is why the integration is taking place.  Carefully remind staff resistant to change that there are reasons why the integration is taking place.   Communicating with the front line team is as important as speaking systematically with administrative boards.

Another element to remember during the integration process is that implementation can occur in stages, rather than all at once.  The impact on staff members resistant to change will be lessened when the integration process is done in segments.  In some cases, doctors and nurses may be resistant to change.  If this is the case, implementing the new technology over a period of time may lessen the blow and keep staff more receptive to the modification process.  A common worry is the abrupt change of technology and the ability to keep up with the new system.  By implementing a gradual change, people may become more comfortable with the process and as a result, warm up to the technology quicker.  The next time a change occurs, those who previously resisted may be more receptive to it.

It is also important to remember the goals during the integration process.  Rather than seeing the change in technology as a headache or barrier to efficient care, remember the learning curve and primary goals of efficiency promotion and communication.  Every orthopedic facility is looking for ways to be more efficient and through the implementation of an EMR or EHR system the process of streamlining can occur.  Keeping the main goal in front of you at all times will help with the process integration.