EHR Basics Series: 5 Moves to Support Quality Care in “Short-staffed” Situations

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Don’t worry, this article won’t rehash current workloads and stressors.

We are here to offer a little practical relief by sharing what some of our clients are accomplishing within the parameters of their current Cerner® Millennium® installations to help support their staff in delivering quality care under overloaded conditions.

The good news is that you probably already have a lot of power in your current system that only requires some thoughtful activation (or perhaps a few modifications) to deliver significant benefits to:

  • Clinicians and labs dealing with exponential volumes, absent colleagues, etc.
  • Administrators struggling to meet new/COVID-related reporting and compliance measures
  • Revenue cycle managers trying to keep everything afloat on the business side

Here are five “easy wins” that will help you make meaningful progress with some basic interventions:


Achieving any incremental improvements in your charting accuracy can pay off in so many ways in “downstream” activities. (Think of the cost of pulling clinicians off the job to help reconcile coding errors!) Within your EHR there are several ways to make immediate impact by carefully reviewing your workflows and preferences within the EHR. Anticipating and proactively optimizing clinical documentation and charge capture can help reduce errors and standardize towards best practices.


The less time a clinician spends with documentation, the more time they can devote to patient care. The trick is in getting efficient methods adopted while ensuring quality care. There are three basic approaches that can be combined for maximum impact: a.) leverage tools such as auto-population and clinical pathways for targeted disease states; b.) targeted training to help clinicians organize their workflows and interface to suit the way they prefer to work; and c.) standardize charting protocols across the organization wherever possible so that staff can be cross trained and ready for “plug and play” deployment.


Helping providers see the value in technology can be a tricky proposition. Typically, the larger your organization,the more difficult it is to address the specific needs of practices with highly specialized workflows acrossambulatory and acute settings. We can provide highly-targeted training that addresses the unique needs of specialty groups like oncology, anesthesia, or surgical services and provide at-the-elbow support from consultants who are also providers, nurses, pharmacy techs, and med techs with similar clinical experience.


The challenge with only using in house resources to coordinate your EHR with Revenue Cycle Management is that no one person on your team typically touches every aspect of a charge from the order to the claim and payment. The right consultant, on the other hand, will have seen dozens of implementations and followed charges from bedside to bottom-line while understanding precisely where gaps can occur. Additionally, a consultant who is a clinician or revenue cycle specialist can better help identify critical opportunities for automation to fully leverage whichever platform (and version) you may be on.


Every “no-show” appointment deprives another potential patient of precious care time and depresses your revenue stream. If you can optimize your EHR to help with coordination of care activities, then you can improve both patient communications and intradepartmental communications to maximize everyone’s productivity and ensure that you are treating as many patients as possible. Maybe it is time to improve the interface to your patient portal or to standardize and coordinate scheduling and patient notifications across practices and settings? We hope you have enjoyed a peek into some of the low hanging ways to support your staff with the technology you already have. If you are able to consider upgrading to the latest version of your EHR (or possibly migrating to another product) you may have the opportunity to reap even more benefits that can help you meet the challenges of 2021 and beyond.

Remember, help is available…

If your IT group is struggling to perform under remote-only conditions or due to resource losses (from budget cuts or illness) we welcome you to contact S&P Consultants for help. Our people have the kind of real-world experience that allows for hyper-efficient interventions—often performed remotely—with broad expertise across dozens of installations like yours. Our dedication to doing right by our clients has earned us recognition by KLAS including a 2021 “Best in KLAS” Award for Implementations requiring eight or fewer resources.

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