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Best Tips & Practices for EHR Implementation

Date: January 21, 2013 Author: admin Category: Health IT Blog Comments: 0

EHR Implementation Tips

Change can be difficult especially in the world of a health IT project.  Issues such as low organizational stability, high stress and high employee turnover can sometimes derail an EHR implementation resulting in lowered productivity as staff members become frustrated with a new system.  But it can go a lot easier when we work together.  Implementing an EHR is definitely a team effort; that's why developing a detailed plan which includes your entire staff is the best way to start your electronic health record implementation project.

Step 1 | Accept That Your Workflow Will Change

To begin, your organizations needs to have a very clear plan for handling productivity losses before the implementing an EMR.  We recommended that providers develop strategies for engaging workers in all departments, alerting staff to the fact that success will require a cultural change and redesigning workflows. Getting your staff members on board with workflow changes may prove to be the most difficult part of the journey.  However, it is also one of the most critical. In order for a technology initiative to deliver its desired benefits of improved efficiency and patient care, medical staff need to realize that they will have to change the way they deliver care to make the most effective use of IT systems. Many organizations start implementing EHR simply to chase incentive payments or avoid penalties. But providers who have this motivation typically overlook the effect technology will have on workflow. Failing to plan may lead to major disruptions that are difficult to recover from.

Step 2| Create Long Term Plan for Replacing Technology

Make sure you take the time to look at the long term cost of an EHR system during the planning stage.  You may have accounted for licensing costs and implementation fees but do not forget to consider the costs associated with transferrring paper records to electronic systems or the hardware which may need to be replaced.  The industry best practice is to replace anywhere from one-quarter to one-third of an organization's computers annually.  Make sure you factor this expense into your long term planning.

Step 3 | Find the EHR cheerleaders

Find members of the executive staff who are comfortable with the new EHR and encourage them to answer staff questions. When workers see top management is in favor of a technology project they often get behind it. Unless providers take into consideration the need for planning, workforce education and workflow adjustment before starting EHR implementation, care quality may suffer and costs may rise due to inefficiencies.  

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