• A starter list of EHR macros to save time on documentation

    If you find yourself repeatedly typing out the same words, phrases, or instructions in your visit documentation, take a few minutes to make a macro instead. This list of sample macros — also called dot phrases, quick phrases, or smart phrases — can help you get started.

    You can set up a macro to insert a single word or phrase (e.g., .ruq = right upper quadrant) or an entire block of text that acts as a template for key sections of common visit types (e.g., assessment and plan for depression or hypertension plan). Macros can also automate basic instructions (e.g., .sutures = “You can wash the area where you have the stitches tomorrow. Rinse the area with the stitches gently, but do not scrub that area. Contact us if you have any bleeding, swelling, redness, increased pain, or fever. Come back in 7-10 days to have the sutures removed”).

    A word of caution: Avoid creating macros that are bloated with information. Instead, keep them short and simple, with only essential information. Additionally, be careful about creating too many macros, as you may not be able to keep them all straight. Start small and focus on macros that address your most common scenarios and will actually save you time.

    If you need help creating a macro, ask an EHR-savvy staff member or colleague. They might already have some set up that you can start using. Your EHR system may come with standard macros as well, so check with your vendor or employer, and seek out training.

    Additional reading from FPM:

    Do you have a useful macro you'd like to share? Comment below or email fpmedit@aafp.org.

    Posted on Aug. 29, 2022 by FPM Editors

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