Fewer Clicks, Better Care: Tips to Save You Time in NextGen

Carmen Soto  | June 24, 2019

Fewer Clicks, Better Care: Tips to Save You Time in NextGen

by CARMEN SOTO | June 24, 2019

Healthcare organizations have always tracked numbers – how many patients we see, how many tests we run, how many prescriptions we write. Healthcare technology makes it easier to track these numbers and optimize operations for maximum efficiency. But there’s one set of numbers that didn’t exist until the arrival of Electronic Health Record (EHR) and Electronic Practice Management (EPM) solutions, and it’s something that practically every provider and staff member can recite: how many clicks it takes to do something in their EHR/EPM.

Intuitively we know that writing with pen and paper takes time. But providers believe that using an EHR/EPM takes more time than writing, and they quantify their belief through clicks. Providers are hungry to save a click, or even half a click, because it means less time on a computer and more time helping patients. This can improve the patient experience, whether it’s getting an appointment more quickly with the front desk or having a better interaction with the doctor in the exam room. It can boost staff productivity, supporting revenue and profitability growth. It can also stem the increasing tide of physician and staff “click fatigue.”

Many Ways to Reduce Clicks

The good news is, there are a lot of ways to save clicks in your practice. First, make sure to take advantage of keyboard shortcuts that will help staff work faster. Second, invest time to setup your system properly, which will save clicks down the road. Finally, don’t be scared to use new system features because you think it will add too many clicks. The goal of healthcare technology is to help you deliver better, more efficient care. Take a long-term view of the benefits your EHR/EPM offers and reach out to us at ITelagen if you need help.

One of the ways we help customers succeed is by sharing EHR/EPM best practices and tips. I’ve included several below that are specifically geared toward reducing clicks for NextGen EHR/EPM users. First are four keyboard shortcuts that will save time equal to at least one click. Next are system features that will reduce the number of clicks required to complete common tasks. I’ve also provided the average number of clicks you can save by using each one.

Note: some features and screenshots below may not exactly match your version of NextGen. If you have any questions, contact our NextGen support team for help.

Save Time with Keyboard Shortcuts

    EPM shortcuts:   

    1. CTRL + Alt + F: search for keywords across open windows in File Maintenance and Preferences. This shortcut has been available since version 5.8.
    2. Ctrl + tab: quickly toggle between open EPM windows, for example ApptBook and Patient Chart.

    EHR shortcuts:

    1. F8: – Launch PAQ (you must already be logged in)
    2. Alt-M: Toggle Patient History toolbar. This improves the screen visibility of templates by avoiding horizontal scrolling.

*For additional keyboard shortcuts contact your NextGen Support Team

Save Clicks with These Tips


    1. Flash Light Feature (saves an average 3 + clicks)
    2. Search open appointment slots easier! Use the flashlight feature to avoid manual searching through individual day or week appointment slots, and simultaneously book appointments that meet provider availability and patient preference.

    3. Patient Icon (saves an average 4 clicks)

    Closed a patient’s EPM chart mistakenly? No problem – you can quickly open the previous patient’s EPM Chart by double clicking the Patient Icon on the bottom of the screen. Note: No patient EPM chart can be open when you use this function.


    1. EHR Chart Review (saves an average 2+ clicks)
    2. Simplify the way you review chart notes across encounters. First, open your preferred encounters and select the documents or templates that you want to review.

      Then, right click on one tab and select New Vertical Tab Group. This will allow you to look at the visit documents/templates side by side without having to toggle between tabs. You can use the shortcut *Alt-M to toggle the history bar for larger screen visibility.

    3. PAQ Preferences(saves an average 2+ clicks)
    4. Set up custom rules to reduce clicks and increase efficiency. Two useful rules: (1) Lock encounter after completion of signoff of documents, and (2) automatically launch telephone call template after sign-off of results for communication. Ask your application system administrator for setup features.

    5. Document Sign-Off (saves an average 2 clicks)
    6. Increase efficiency by using the blue checkmark on the top right-hand side after generating your document to sign-off. This will save you the time of going into PAQ to sign-off after. Note: this is only applicable to real-time generation of documents.

    7. Previous Patient/Provider Plan (saves an average 2+ clicks)
    8. Save time by copying forward the previous patient/provider plan comments through your A/P details template. Note: plan comments are diagnosis-specific.

    9. Add assessments on 1- click (Saves an average 2+ clicks)
    10. In the Assessments template, select the checkbox to enable the one-click option to add to the patient’s assessment today. Note: if the setting is not enabled for your practice, it will need to be re-enabled by encounter. To learn how to enable this setting for your practice, contact your ITelagen support team or system administrator.

Focus on Care, not Clicks

One of the biggest challenges we face in healthcare today is how to continue providing quality care when EHR/EPM systems take up so much time. By incorporating these simple keyboard shortcuts and tips, your practice can focus more on helping patients and less on counting clicks. And contact us at ITelagen if you need additional help to optimize your use of NextGen or other healthcare technology solutions.