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Cerner PowerChart Review

By
Adam C. Uzialko
,
business.com writer
| Updated
Jun 22, 2018
Home
> Human Resources
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Cerner is one of the largest companies in the electronic medical record space, and it maintains electronic health records (EHRs) for both enterprise and ambulatory purposes. Its ambulatory EHR, PowerChart, is a thorough system that boils down the complexity of the system intended for large hospital systems into something more appropriate for medical practices.

Cerner PowerChart

Cerner PowerChart

The Best Electronic Medical Record (EMR) Software of 2019

The Verdict

Cerner's ambulatory electronic medical record software, PowerChart, is a comprehensive solution that can be somewhat overwhelming and difficult to use. However, it offers a thorough picture of your practice, from patients to financials.

View all our recommendations for electronic medical records systems on our best picks page.

Cerner packs a lot of information into its EHR system, which has its pros and cons. On one hand, you can access a full array of information and adapt the solution to virtually any specialty, but on the other, it makes navigating the system difficult and overwhelming. Still, if you're willing to spend a lot of time acclimating to the system and learning how to best use it, it is a comprehensive and powerful tool that offers a 360-degree view of your practice.

Ease of Use

Ease of use is not PowerChart's strong suit. At first glance, patient charts are busy to the point of being overwhelming. Naturally, with time, users will learn to navigate the system, but PowerChart has a much steeper learning curve than many other EHR solutions. Many users complain that it takes a great deal of clicking to accomplish tasks during encounters, which can take away from patient care. Extensive training is recommended to become proficient with this system.

While the learning curve is a weak point for PowerChart, a lot of that difficulty arises out of the immense amount of information the system provides. It's good to have access to all of that information, but without proper training and a great deal of familiarity, users might find it difficult to navigate. It's a solution best employed with tech-savvy teams that won't have a lot of trouble hitting the ground running. For less experienced or tech-averse practices, you'd do best with an easier-to-manage solution.

On the patient chart summary, there are categories covering virtually the entire spectrum of patient care. These include notifications, a problems list, imaging results, pathology, lab results, vital signs captured on intake, and a patient summary that includes identifying information and history. On the left-hand side of the screen is the workflow menu, which allows users to jump to a specific section of the patient chart. This menu has roughly a dozen tabs, demonstrating how complete the information about a patient can be. Again, this level of detail is a great thing to have, and PowerChart is probably one of the most thorough EHR solutions we reviewed; however, with that detail comes a greater learning curve, more scrolling and more clicks. Finding balance here is key.

One of the most attractive aspects of navigating Cerner's EHR is that you can click through to any specific section of the software on the central dashboard. Generally, each section still requires more clicks to complete an action, but a single click from the dashboard will get you to the right place without much searching. For example, clicking through to notes from the dashboard allows users to view existing notes, sort notes and create new ones. Creating a new note brings up template options, which users can leverage to more quickly fill out their notes. It still requires several clicks, but getting through to the right place is relatively easy.

Features

Cerner PowerChart can be used for practices of all sizes. It supports more than 40 specialties and comes with a wide array of preconfigured integrations, which is one benefit of working with a large company.

Scheduling

Cerner's PowerChart scheduling tool allows users to set and review appointments. The top row of the scheduling screen features a number of tools to create new appointments and edit existing ones. Once an appointment is set for a patient, users can view basic information about the patient. The appointment window schedules patients in columns below the name of the provider they will be seeing.

Charting

Cerner's charting tool displays basic patient information on the top of the screen, including name, date of birth, age, gender, attending and any allergies. On the left side of the window is a workflow menu, which includes options like documents, vitals, medications, labs, imaging, pathology, microbiology and histories. The workflow window includes granular options that many other EHRs we reviewed don't readily maintain. Most anything can be double-clicked to edit the current information, from name to allergies.

Patient Portal

Cerner's virtual health center allows patients to take an active role in their healthcare. By logging on from their desktop or mobile device, patients can view their lab and test results, request prescription refills, communicate with their healthcare provider, request an appointment, and pay their bills. They can also provide necessary information before they arrive for an appointment, reducing the time spent on intake.

Implementation and Training

Cerner offers one-on-one "adoption coaching" for its EHR. Implementation support and training is always crucial, but especially so with Cerner's sprawling system. The company offers two major kinds of coaching: optimization coaching and sustainment coaching.

Optimization coaching offers personalized attention to help get your practice up and running on the system. It helps you set up users and create benchmarks on your way to a go-live date. Its aim is boosting efficiency of implementation and user satisfaction with Cerner's products.

Sustainment coaching is based on a continuous support model that offers ongoing training to users after the go-live date. This is always an important feature to have access to, but with Cerner it is absolutely essential. The depth and breadth of the program make company liaisons indispensable.

Editor's note: Looking for an electronic medical records (EMR) system? Click the Compare Quotes button below to have our sister site Buyer Zone connect you with vendors that can help.

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Cerner PowerChart

Cerner PowerChart

The Best Electronic Medical Record (EMR) Software of 2019

The Verdict

Cerner's ambulatory electronic medical record software, PowerChart, is a comprehensive solution that can be somewhat overwhelming and difficult to use. However, it offers a thorough picture of your practice, from patients to financials.

Adam C. Uzialko
Adam C. Uzialko
Adam C. Uzialko, a New Jersey native, graduated from Rutgers University in 2014 with a degree in political science and journalism and media studies. He reviews healthcare information technology, call centers, document management software and employee monitoring software. In addition to his full-time position at Business News Daily and Business.com, Adam freelances for several outlets. An indispensable ally of the feline race, Adam is owned by four lovely cats.