• Dr. Christopher Beck, MD

How To Use Epic EMR, Part 1: Easy Keyboard Shortcuts

Updated: Jun 23, 2018




An Epic EMR Knowledge Resource


I am an interventional radiologist in private practice in New Orleans. I mainly cover two hospitals, one of which has been using the Epic electronic medical record (EMR) system for a little over a year, and another that switched over to Epic just last week. In my experience, rolling out a new EMR system comes with a lot of growing pains - new workflows, new tricks, and new quirks.


After a brief Google search, I was surprised to find that information on how to navigate Epic is sparse, fragmented, and rarely helpful. Epic is clearly a robust medical documentation system with a ton of features that are designed to save time and enhance patient care, but the multitude and complexity of Epic features can be daunting for new users. Even as an experienced Epic user, working through the recent rollout has been a bit of a headache and a major time sink. When everything is up and running and users overcome the initial learning curve, Epic can actually save time, but there can be a lot of upfront work to get there.


By providing detailed guides on different Epic features and functionality, my hope is to generate a central source of information and experience from interventional radiologists and the broader medical community, so that every time Epic goes live at another hospital, Epic freshman can get a head start on optimizing their new workflow.



Epic Keyboard Shortcuts


For the inaugural EMR article, I’m kicking off with something small: keyboard shortcuts. These are pretty basic and easy to use, but take some dedicated repetition to shorten your screen time.

Most of the shortcuts used in word processing and other software tools work the same for Epic, like Ctrl + C to copy or Ctrl + Z to undo your most recent change. Here are three Epic-specific shortcuts that have saved me a few clicks:


Go to Orders: Ctrl + O

  • This will populate your manage orders tab.

  • From here you can add individual orders or access your order sets.

Sign: Alt + S

  • This is particularly useful if you are in an open note and have finished documenting. Type Alt + S to sign the note.

Accept: Alt + A

  • A good use case for this is when you are entering orders. Type Alt + A to accept the order.


There are, of course, methods to click around and achieve these exact functions, but I’ve found that I can spend a lot of time clicking between screens and menus on Epic. Efficiency with the platform is all about reducing the number of clicks to get where you want to go. These shortcuts keep your hands off the mouse, which will save you time.


If you are looking for other shortcuts, take a look at your Epic screen. Many commands have an underlined letter, which indicates that this command can be activated with either Ctrl or Alt + the underlined letter (see image below).




If there are any Epic keyboard shortcuts that you find especially useful, join our blog community and leave your tips in the comments. In my next post, I’m going to tackle something a little more complex, but also extremely helpful: SmartPhrases.

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