NextGen Dermatology Templates not standardized with look and feel.
NextGen releases KBM versions, which transform the look and flow of the user interface.
At one time, a version had a consistent look and feel. In addition to the primary care general templates, specialty templates were developed to match. In KBM 7.9 The interface has been redesigned with a different navigation structure, new graphics to give an updated look, and a change in workflow. Unfortunately this was not done for all the specialties.
FYI: The patient info in this screen shot is not real.
While it is “nice” to have the updated look, I first did not think it would matter very much. We could certainly make the “old way” work just fine. But then I started seeing that some “general” templates Are launched in the workflow of a Dermatology case. So you see the old system, and then you launch the smoking use section of social history, and up pops a window that has a complete different look and feel. But the thing that makes this a big problem, is the navigation isn’t consistent between the two interfaces. This change in workflow throws off a user, and does not allow for a seamless workflow.
NextGen allows administrator users to not only add a large amount of configurations, but also allows you to create custom templates.
The problem with custom templates is that you create the look and feel as well as the fields. So the navigation and graphics on the template are apart of that particular template. Just like NextGen updated some templates, but not others, when a new KBM is released, the base templates that you didn’t customize will be updated, and your custom templates will remain. So you probably would want to re-skin your templates as well to match the new look.
The other option is to create copies of all the templates that you use. Standardize them (which should have already been done by NextGen, but isn’t in KBM 7.9), as well as create custom templates, if necessary, to match. When NextGen updates their KBM, the system will see that you are using all custom templates, and while it will update templates you do not use, your templates will have the old, but consistent look, with a workflow your users are accustomed to. Not getting the latest looks with updates is a bummer. Everyone likes to see visual changes with software upgrades, and sometimes those layout changes really could be beneficial.
The biggest problem, or perhaps it’s a solution, is that NextGen is updating their KBM again. Their website features KBM 8.0, which has a whole new look and feel. This is great, that they are constantly innovating their product, but they didn’t finish updating KBM 7.9 Specialty templates, before moving on. Maybe they didn’t plan on updating these templates. Maybe KBM 8.0 is a complete package and standardizes all the templates. KBM is prominently displayed on their website, but it hasn’t been released yet.
As we are in the process of setting up our EHR, it is very difficult to move forward without knowing the KBM 8.0 details and how future KBM releases will integrate with custom templates. If we don’t get KBM 8.0 soon, we will be left with developing custom templates, as well as reorganizing workflow of the old templates, and possibly reverting KBM 7.9 general templates to match the old Dermatology templates from KBM 7.8. This will result in a brand new install that is two versions old, and cost us a significant amount of money. Then when KBM 8.0 finally comes out, we will have to decide on investing more money and time to updating our templates and workflow.
What should we do?
Before moving forward I need to find other Dermatologists using NextGen and see if they have already created custom templates and a cohesive workflow. Perhaps we can work together, thereby decreasing our costs.