Tips to Reduce EMR Fatigues
Patient charting has always been a less than desirable reality for medical providers. All the time spent on your computer charting and meeting EMR management requirements can wear you down and cause fatigue. If you want to make this a thing of the past, try some of these tips to help reduce your EMR fatigue.
Be Kind to Your Eyes:
EMR management often requires significant time utilizing a computer to enter and update records. Extensive computer use can cause many users to experience Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). Symptoms like visual changes (blurred/ double vision), dry or red eyes, eye pain, neck aches and headaches are frequently associated with this condition. To reduce the likelihood of these symptoms, try adjusting your computer screen to just below eye level and ensure it is at least 2 feet in front of you(1). It may also be beneficial to reduce screen glare during the time spent managing EMRs using an anti-glare screen cover and adjusting brightness and text size settings to reduce eye strain.
Employ the 20-20-20 rule:
It can be easy to get caught up in EMR management and forget to take a break. However, taking short breaks periodically is highly beneficial in reducing EMR fatigue. Every 20 minutes look away from your screen at an object that is about 20 feet away for 20 seconds(1). This tip can help reduce EMR fatigue from continued computer use by reducing eye strain.
Adjust our EMR Settings:
Another critical factor impacting EMR fatigue is the frequency and level of interaction undertaken by individuals. Adjusting this personal behavior to maximize EMR management efficiency can greatly impact the time spent utilizing the program.
- Modify Alerts When Possible A study evaluating alert fatigue and clinical decision making found that the more EMR alerts a Provider encounters, the more likely they are to override them(1). Their findings suggest that you may decrease EMR fatigue by decreasing the number of within-patient repetitive alerts.
- Create Efficient Templates Creating quick and essential EMR templates for your practice can also decrease your chances of experiencing fatigue. Ask yourself, "What do I need to document as a Provider and what can my staff document to reduce my overall workload?" By focusing your efforts on essential taskings you reduce your time spent on the computer with each patient.
Schedule Some Breaks:
Scheduling a break can help both your mind and body reset to meet new challenges head on. Even short breaks from EMR management can be beneficial providing you time to stretch, listen to music, meditate, or engage your mind and body in an alternate activity that can be invigorating.
Think about Ergonomics:
Consider your posture and how it is impacted by the equipment you use every day. Are you looking down at your laptop or are you slumped over in your chair? Making small changes in your surroundings can add up to big benefits for your body. Consider trying a standing/rolling desk, adjusting your monitor height, using orthotic inserts, or ergonomic chairs and foot rests while conducting EMR management.
References:1 What is Computer Vision Syndrome? WebMd. Ancker JS, Edwards A, Nosal S, et al. Effects of workload, work complexity, and repeated alerts on alert fatigue in a clinical decision support system. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making. 2017;17:36. doi:10.1186/s12911-017-0430-8.
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