Can an EHR interface dictate physician decisions?

EHR templates may influence physician decisions.

EHR templates may influence physician decisions.

Previously on this blog, we reported that chiropractic EHR could reduce the number of unnecessary tests by compiling patient information effectively and accessibly. Yet this benefit may be more pronounced with specific chiropractic management software.

Recently, assistant professor Victoria Shaffer of the University of Missouri helmed an investigation into how doctors make decisions, with a particular emphasis on the effect of EHR templates. According to HealthcareIT News, Shaffer hypothesized that simple variations in templates have the potential to steer physicians in one direction or another with regard to testing options.

Shaffer and her colleagues conducted research on the influence of three separate presentations of lab test options on a physician's ultimately choice. These included a menu in which no lab tests were selected or prioritized, a menu in which physicians had to deselect tests they didn't want and one in which a few tests were pre-selected per professional recommendation. Among these possibilities, Shaffer observed that physicians ordered considerably more tests when they used the second option and had to actively opt out of tests.

"IT experts and medical professionals should work together to design these systems to reach optimal performance, which results in the best care for patients. A wide variety of methods exist that could improve medical lab test ordering software and would ensure that only the most appropriate, relevant lab tests for patients are ordered while saving money in the long run," concluded Shaffer.

Of course, no chiropractic EHR template can lead a physician to go against their training and professional instincts, but the suggestion of extra tests could still have some influence. Based on this finding, it's clear that the search for the best chiropractic EHR must include many variables beyond initial implementation costs. Before committing to a specific provider, be sure to investigate how information is presented with their product to gauge compatibility with your current workflow. Training and on-going tech support should also be included to ensure you make the most of this innovative platform.

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