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The Inside Scoop on EHRs From a Former Nurse

Interview with CJ Pellegrino, Customer Success Manager at Medicat and Former Nurse
July 19, 2023

When in the market for a new EHR solution, it’s important to ensure that the system you’re choosing is user-friendly and in the best interest of your staff members who will be using the software day in and day out. What better way to find out what features of an EHR are most helpful for nurses than asking a former nurse themself? One of our Customer Success Managers, CJ Pellegrino, is a former nurse. They sat down with us to spill the inside scoop on their previous roles and experience with EHRs in the Q&A below.

CJ’s experience includes working as an intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) nurse, working in the home hospice care setting, and working at a family practice where their role was focused on practice management and billing. CJ worked with EHRs for many years and provides helpful insights that can be utilized to evaluate an EHR solution. Here’s what they had to say:

1. What kind of EHR did you use in your previous roles?

What features did you use most frequently? I used several EHRs during my tenure as a nurse. The features I found to be most important and relevant to my position included those that supported documentation, medication management, and scheduling.

2. How often did you use the EHR?

I would interact with the EHR daily. During my time as an IDD nurse, I would use the software during the middle of my shift and at the end of the day. As a hospice nurse, I would use the EHR after each client visit for documentation. Then as a clinical admin, I used the EHR each day to help manage the operations of the clinic.

3. Was the software easy to learn? Was robust training offered?

There was no official training provided by the EHR provider itself, or the companies I worked at. My coworkers taught me how to use the software, so my experience with those EHRs was limited to what they showed me. I wanted to further my knowledge of the products, but it was extremely difficult to find what I was looking for. I did come across training videos on the EHR’s website, but the videos were prerecorded and consisted of minimal information. There was no Help Center, live training, or opportunities. Most of the information I found on their website was geared towards administrative setup, rather than best practices for optimizing workflow as a healthcare provider.

4. Do you think using an EHR made your job easier or more difficult?

Using an EHR is definitely more convenient compared to traditional paper-based methods. The ability to enter information electronically is a time-saver, and there is much less risk of information being lost, unorganized, or entered incorrectly.  However, without proper training, there can be a steep learning curve. I think if there was proper training in place for using the EHR, I may have had a better experience.

5. What are the top three pain points for nurses that you think a good EHR can solve? 

  • Templatizing Documentation: If an EHR has the ability to create templates and standard notes, this is a HUGE time-saver when it comes to complex documentation. Documentation is a big part of a nurse’s job, and templates in a good EHR can make the process painless and more efficient.
  • The Ability to Interface: Having all features and integrations streamlined is crucial for keeping things running smoothly. Opening several programs to properly document patients wastes a lot of time, which means less time to focus on quality patient care. A good EHR should have the ability to execute most, if not all, tasks in one program. For example, easily verifying immunizations and lab results within the EHR can be super helpful.
  • Ensuring Safety for Patients: Most importantly, a good EHR should promote patient safety. EHRs should offer ongoing training and support so staff and providers are able to use the software properly. It’s easy for patient information to become lost or disorganized if all members using the system are not properly trained on how to use the EHR, which threatens patient safety.

6. What are the best features of Medicat’s EHR that you think would benefit nurses the most?

Templates and the Template Transaction Linker are extremely useful and help save a ton of time! Note Favorites are also super helpful to standardize common note types. Plus, using the patient portal to its full capability is also very important. In my previous life as a nurse, we never utilized the patient portal, and I now understand how helpful it would have been if we did. This emphasizes the importance of what proper support and training could have done for me and my coworkers.

Key Takeaways:

EHRs play a significant role in the workflow of your clinic. When staff members (especially nurses) are working with an EHR they find it user-friendly and streamlined, they’re able to work much more efficiently. More patients can be seen, time will be saved, and care quality will significantly improve.

At Medicat, we’re committed to providing you with top-of-the-line support. We have a team dedicated to assisting you with any questions that may arise while using the EHR. Our team also offers regular training sessions and webinars, so you’re never left in the dark.

    What else can EHRs do for your campus clinic? Check out one of our other articles, Five Challenges Solved by EHRs, to learn more.