Toolkit Helps Optimize EHRs for Physician Assistants

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, January 2, 2018

Optimize EHR systems now to allow PAs to practice at the top of their licensure and ensure the best patient safety standards, says an AAPA regulatory and practice director.

It's important to include input from all stakeholders when choosing an EHR system for your healthcare organization, including physician assistants, who often face different regulations and requirements depending on where they're practicing.

Sondra DePalma
Sondra DePalma

That's why the American Academy of PAs has released a new toolkit that helps PAs advocate for EHR systems that meet their unique practice needs.

"We are 10% of the current clinician provider population," says Sondra DePalma, MHS, PA-C, CLS, DFAAPA, AACC, director of regulatory and professional practice at the AAPA.

She also points out that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the profession is projected to see 37.4% growth over the 2016–2026 decade, putting it in the top five of the fast-growing professions.

She said the opportunity is here to make sure EHR systems are optimized to allow PAs to practice at the top of their licensure and ensure the best patient safety standards.

"We're not talking about big redesigns of EHR systems. This isn't going to take a lot of money," she says. "It doesn't take big investment in IT resources and IT redesign."

Instead, it involves asking the right questions to ensure top functionality and getting the right systems implemented.

That's why it's important to have PAs at the decision-making table, from the development and design of the program, to deciding which EHR system to use, to implementation and ongoing system management, DePalma says.

"We really think that PAs … should be involved in all aspects," says DePalma. "There's a lot of evidence that says when people are involved in the process they're able to avoid workarounds and other issues that might involve efficiency and patient safety."

Alexandra Wilson Pecci

Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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