June 14, 2023
Electronic health record (EHR) support analysts are an integral part of advancing health equity by supporting community health center operations. In the OCHIN network, they are experts at the OCHIN Epic EHR platform and serve as primary liaisons between their site and OCHIN, working alongside care teams to provide technical support, train users, disseminate information to providers, and communicate end-user needs.
Though they operate largely behind the scenes from the patient perspective, EHR support analysts are essential in ensuring that providers are able to provide quality, affordable, patient-centered care. Understanding the critical role that EHR support analysts serve in member communities, OCHIN conducted an analysis to better support providers in understanding the outcomes of specific EHR support analyst staffing ratios.
Underscoring OCHIN’s suggested staffing ratio
The analysis used the Member Support Program Report (MSPR), a quarterly report that members receive from OCHIN. This report measures key performance categories that are addressed by EHR support analysts.
Members were classified in three categories:
- Low ratio: One EHR support analyst per 14-73 staff
- Medium ratio: One EHR support analyst per 74-134 staff
- High ratio: One EHR support analyst per 135+ staff
The results supported OCHIN’s current suggested staffing ratio of one EHR support analyst for every 100 or fewer clinic staff. Particularly high performance was observed among clinics with a low ratio, or one EHR support analyst to 73 clinic staff members or less.
In the service areas analyzed, clinics that had one EHR support analyst per 14-73 clinic staff experienced fewer lab interface errors, less missing information in the EHR, and better overall performance in the operational areas that typically benefit from EHR support analysts. There was no significant relationship found between the staffing ratios and member and clinician satisfaction scores.
Building clinical capacity in response to workforce challenges
Though EHR analysts are supported by dedicated EHR Support Analyst and Workforce Augmentation teams at OCHIN that provide ongoing resources, training, and support, the position is not immune to the workforce challenges faced by health care providers nationwide. Many OCHIN members continue to experience a shortage of operational staff in the wake of COVID-19, including EHR analysts. This hinders providers’ ability to function efficiently, affects patient access to care, decreases financial stability, and contributes to provider burnout.
In response to the findings, OCHIN has worked to further support members by updating support materials and has identified additional areas of study to better understand and mitigate the challenges faced by EHR support analysts and their members sites.
OCHIN also continues to lead workforce development initiatives to help rebuild, strengthen, and diversify the health care workforce. A $15 million partnership in California focuses heavily on EHR support analyst training and job placement.
For more information about OCHIN’s workforce development opportunities, visit the OCHIN+ website.