STEPS Forward™: Taming the Electronic Health Record Playbook

The idea of getting rid of unnecessary work can feel so simple yet so daunting at the same time. Many physicians, especially those already experiencing burnout, feel resigned to whatever unnecessary work they are given. With visible leadership commitment, concrete examples to work from, and an IT and governance structure in place to evaluate and implement effective changes, unnecessary work does not have to be “just how it is.”

This section will help you tame the EHR by:

  • Eliminating unnecessary tasks and duplicative work
  • Identifying opportunities to improve processes and protocols that are upstream of the day-to-day EHR work

Taming the EHR Playbook

Access key STEPS, best practices, and resources to save time and reduce the burden of EHR work.


Of course, after optimal deimplementation to reduce unnecessary work, at the end of the day, there is still much necessary work to be accomplished in the EHR. The key here is involving the entire care team to share this workload—this is essential for effectively taming the EHR.

Core team-based care workflows for managing the EHR include:

This section will help you tame the EHR by:

  • Implementing fundamental team-based care workflows to help you manage necessary EHR work

While the system and organizational level efforts described in Strategies 1 and 2 are foundational for successfully conquering the EHR problem, becoming more personally proficient with the technology itself can offer some valuable time-saving tricks.

This section will help you tame the EHR by:

  • Starting with “easy wins” that can save hours each week, which will boost both confidence and morale and motivate you to keep making small changes that add up to big effects
  • Enhancing Epic or Cerner skills with efficiency-boosting tips developed exclusively for AMA STEPS Forward®

Gathering accurate and up-to-date EHR use data or metrics is essential for measuring progress and success as well as identifying areas of continued focus for the organization.

This section will help you tame the EHR by:

  • Establishing key EHR use metrics
  • Using EHR data to both identify areas of need as well as to track improvement and progress

In this era, no one wants to go back to paper charts. But as with any technological tool, physicians and health care systems need to learn how to harness the power of the EHR and use it effectively. The key to mastering and taming the EHR is not better training for the EHR users (though this is helpful), but in creating and maintaining the necessary system-level procedures and resources to maximize team-based care and eliminate unnecessary work.

Anyone interested in maximizing the benefits and minimizing the burdens of the EHR can benefit from the content outlined and linked to within this Playbook (PDF). 

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