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2022 eClinicalWorks Conference Takeaways

by | Nov 21, 2022

eClinicalWorks is considered to be the largest cloud-based EMR system in the market, serving over 600,000 users across the United States. To help the healthcare community keep up with all the newest products and features, eCW hosts an annual conference in Orlando, Florida.  

Not wanting to miss a single beat, Medical Advantage consultants descend on this conference year after year to bring timely information back to clients. We are excited to share what we have learned!

Many Medical Advantage clients are also eCW customers. That is why our consultants attend the conference to gather notable updates, exciting news, and any other information that will help everyone – clients and consultants alike – have the most success using eCW features.  

During a roundtable discussion, these consultants compared notes on the big takeaways of the conference. In this blog, you will get the scoop on what to expect from eCW in the near future, especially with V12. 

The Takeaways (According to eClinicalWorks) 

Before we dive into what our notable updates our very own consultants have to share, we will share the three main conference takeaways from eClinicalWorks wants to drive home. 

1.) Switch to the Browser Version and Work in the Cloud 

Your organization is “one major weather event away from losing access to your office and patient records.” Moving your work environment to the cloud offers faster upgrades and constant uptime with access to patient data while eliminating the need to maintain your own equipment and hire a dedicated IT staff. 

2.) Use PRISMA to Gain Deeper Patient Insights 

Value-based care calls for interoperability and preventative interventions. The potential offered by PRISMA’s nationwide interoperability networks allows you to mitigate health issues for your patients while keeping care costs down and patient outcomes up. 

3.) Adopt Changes Incrementally 

Many attendees will feel overwhelmed with the surge of changes in eCW to the point they were apprehensive to adopt any changes at all. eCW challenges practices to start small. Choose one enhancement to take full advantage of, and focus on that. If your staff responds positively, this may motivate you to implement additional changes.

Significant and Abundant Interface Enhancements 

What can you expect from the newest version of eCW in terms of the overall user experience? These are the highlights of the presentation of new enhancements. 

  • Copy/paste – The wait is over. You now can copy and paste! 
  • Less mouse clicks and more keystrokes – The modern clinician has their hands busy taking notes during an office visit, so having to toggling between a keyboard and mouse adds extra steps. With the added feature of keystrokes, you can do more with your keyboard reducing the need for a mouse. 
  • Helpful macros – Macros features, including letter tags, provide relief from heavy dictation and typing. For example, you can drag vitals into the narrative, making it easier for providers to document. 
  • Easy tagging – You now can assign tasks to other members of the clinical staff by tagging them  
  • by name rather than having to scroll through the whole list to find them. 
  • Filters that stay put – Default filters yield reduce adjustments, making your daily “jellybeans” easier to set. 
  • Lock rather than log out – Sometimes you need to step away for just a few seconds. Locking your computer, rather than logging out, allows you to pick up right where you left off with a simple pin code entry. 
  • A view of the patient journey – A game changer for providers is the timeline view. This feature allows you to organize patient information into a timeline view providing a centralized and more cohesive look at a patient’s journey. 
  • Floating toolbar – Another new feature to look for is a floating toolbar. Will a floating toolbar make your screen more cluttered? Not necessarily, since it sits to the left side of any screen,  helping you more easily move orders for the patient. The added benefit of this new toolbar is how it better streamlines the process, providing insights to patient care without having to switch screens as frequently. 
  • A better right chart panel – What about the right side of the screen? With a more user-friendly right panel setup, you now can see your previous encounters and process notes without leaving current progress notes. 

A Brand New eClinicalTouch App 

ECW rolled out a completely new platform giving app-based eClinicalTouch a complete makeover. Everything about it has changed for the better: the user interface is more seamless, user-friendly and offers additional flexibility. Exciting new features include: 

  • Drag and drop “jellybeans” to prioritize them 
  • Drag and drop menus throughout the entire application 
  • Drag and drop windows, and easier to close out of tabs and windows 
  • Ability to respond to telephone encounters at any time, with the telephone encounter appearing with the individual’s name. This allows you to prioritize specific patients when the need arises. Even while you are still with another patient or in the middle of a progress note, you can take a patient call. 
  • When language is changed in the Apple device, it automatically changes the language in the entire eClinicalTouch interface.

Interfaces Tailored By Specialty 

Clearly, eClinicalWorks recognizes that the needs of each specialty are unique. Our consultants were told that most of the specialties would see enhancements specific to their respective area of medicine. Here are a few examples of what specialties can expect moving forward. 

Behavioral Health 

The eCW interface has been improved to better accommodate and support the unique protocols and procedures for behavioral health sessions. Using the dedicated behavioral health tab, you will have a special floating toolbar with a shortcut and standard SOAP note. Other new features include: 

  • Because time of session is required for documenting, behavioral health providers will now have use of an interface time tracker  
  • Customized forms  
  • The ability to capture patient signatures, even for group therapy sessions  
  • Group chat, group discussions, and the ability to invite participants electronically  

If you have been waiting for a way to make confidential notes about a patient that can’t be seen by others who have access to the patient’s record, your wish is now granted. Private sticky notes give you a way to recall important details without making them known to other professionals connected to the patient’s records. When appropriate or necessary, you can move the private contents of the sticky note into the patient’s record. 

Rheumatology 

Rheumatologists will be able to document more accurately with joint-specific documentation. Before, you had to do the joint mapping on your own, but now it is done for you accurately. For example, to document the knee, just click on it and a template will load, allowing you to enter the necessary inputs based on that specific joint area. 

Ophthalmology 

Ophthalmologists and surgeons of different vision specialties can try out a rewritten vision module that should make it easier to document for their specialty as well. 

Medication Management 

Simplifying the medication management system is always a welcome improvement. In the past, multiple medication orders had to be entered to taper off meds. Tapering now can be automated by way of a designated button. This will allow you to move more quickly through the process by providing the strength per number of days and automatically adding the medication data into the columns. 

Healow and Patient Engagement Enhancements 

What big changes can you share with your patients and front desk staff about Healow updates? The shift toward more self-service patient engagement continues as Healow makes it easier for patients to help themselves to new features. 

A Better Way to Manage Forms 

The larger and more diverse your patient population is, the more taxing patient forms can be. Thanks to a more intelligent Healow process, you can text or email patient forms (such as consent forms), capture the patient’s signature digitally, and have it entered into the medical record upon return. For in person visits, Healow can generate questionnaires based on specific patient demographics such as gender or age. Forms also can be set to expire to ensure practices stay on top of rules and clinical best practices. 

A Different Approach to Appointment Setting 

Are patient-set appointments a reliable way of scheduling? What if a new patient schedules themselves as an existing patient, or vice versa? With Healow, patients can set appointments based on the reason for coming in, ensuring they receive an appropriate time slot regardless of patient status. 

Customizing the Interface for the Patient’s Language 

Patient-facing healthcare technology also must acknowledge the growing diversity of patient populations, which we saw as more patient features communicated in Spanish. 

Fewer Interruptions to Front Desk Staff 

“Your front desk doesn’t have to be your help desk anymore” – Bailey Sutherland, Senior Consultant at Medical Advantage. Automation takes some of the burden from your front desk staff, as more tasks are offloaded onto the patient by way of self-service tools. Patients can get online help online for tasks such as resetting passwords and appointments. This will be a welcome relief for practices needing to reduce call volume. 

How Can eCW Updates Help with Data Management? 

Data management continues to be a balancing act for most healthcare systems. Engineers (like the ones with eClinicalWorks) remain diligent about who needs what data and how that data is used. The drive for better data management helps healthcare systems make the most informed decisions. 

Smart Search 

Advancements in sorting information from multiple health systems is a notable improvement for data management in eCW. Smart search allows you to extract specific information from the aggregate. For example, if you were searching for a recent patient X-ray, you could search using the keyword “x-ray.”  

For revenue cycle management (RCM) and accounts receivable (AR), new built-in reporting will allow better use of the extended business office (EBO). The notable difference is the increase in the amount of available data you will have to work with. If you have a discrete data point within eCW, you can essentially report back out on it. 

Insights from Healow 

By pulling critical data from many different areas of a patient’s background, Healow provides valuable insights, such as gaps in care and coding discrepancies. 

Billing 

Tax ID specific EBO reports will help with billing, especially ERA posting and unposted ERAs. With Healow pay, you now can add multiple bank accounts and centralize billing among several eCW databases. 

The Push to Join the Cloud 

Working in the cloud allows you to get the most out of V12 functionality, as it is better suited for the cloud in general. While 75% of eCW clients have already transitioned to the cloud, 25% are still holding out – and this conference was intent on winning them over. 

Being backed by Azure is an exciting new partnership. This brings more power to the cloud, allowing you to fetch and compile data more quickly. For those waiting all night for a report to run, this is promising news. The speed is noticeable, as the time to log in is now a fraction of what it was. 

As we get out of the infrastructure management business, Azure has given us platform agility, resilience, and uptime. We’re able to build those benefits into our deployments and ensure that we have high availability so we can handle potential failures without issue. Bharat Satyanarayan: Vice President of Technology and Quality Assurance, eClinicalWorks 

Medical Advantage is Here for Your eClinicalWorks Needs 

This is not the first eCW conference we have attended, and it won’t be the last! We are dedicated to helping your healthcare system get the most efficient use of this platform. Whether you are a current client or looking for solutions for your providers and clinical staff, our consultants are here to help best utilize eCW. Reach out to us today. 

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