How EHRs can help ASCs & anesthesia providers safely prescribe opioids — 6 takeaways

EHR adoption has significantly improved prescribing practices in emergency departments and ASCs, HSTpathways Nurse and Clinical Applications Director Maura Dent Cash, BSN, told

Here are six takeaways:

1. ASCs adopted EHR technology long after inpatient hospitals did because they weren't part of the original incentive package for EHRs. In the early days of EHR adoption, there also weren't many EHRs suited for ASCs.

2. An EHR function called computerized prescriber order-entry helps providers across care settings see what a patient has already been prescribed, when it was prescribed and who prescribed it.

3. EHRs also enable providers to engage in concurrent charting, meaning everyone can view the same patient's pain assessment, vital signs and medication history at the same time. This capability is particularly useful in the fast-paced ASC environment.

4. Through EHR systems, the patient's care team members such as anesthesiologists and prescribers can communicate more effectively, using the same terms.

5. EHRs enhance the discharge process for ASCs, which have high patient turnover rates, because the system stores various sets of discharge instructions appropriate for different patients.

6. By offering complete prescription histories, EHRs can help providers avoid overprescribing or prevent negative interactions between drugs.

"You can't fix a problem unless you've identified it, tracked it and followed it," Ms. Cash said to "EHRs are going to play an increasingly critical role in that for opioid prescribing. And ASCs can now be part of this bigger picture."

More articles on anesthesia:
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