Successful EHR Implementation
By Chris Torregosa, Project coordinator
With all the government stimulus money made available to hospitals and clinics these days, many groups are purchasing and implementing an EHR system. Some implementations go smoothly and achieve their goals while others they struggle or stall due to inexperience and frustration with the selected system. Some tend to fall short due to limited resources or IT issues. In certain instances, many groups experience little or no success at all. These groups then begin to contemplate whether it is a problem with their staff learning the system, the workflow processes within the group, or simply the EHR system’s abilities to meet their requirements. Regardless of your group’s size, many implementation issues are common throughout. Like any new journey in life that requires a certain amount of knowledge, there is much to learn and many things that can go wrong without proper direction. Here are a few tips to help ensure a successful EHR implementation:
1) There is no “I” in the word “Team”.
Any football fan knows that any given play can’t be run on the field unless everyone is completing their assigned role. The quarterback can’t throw or handoff the ball unless his offensive line is providing the proper protection from the opposing defense. I can go on and on, but the point is that the sane team concept can and should be applied to an EHR implementation. Navigating through an EHR implementation is not solo task. Everyone from the receptionist to the biller, to the medical assistant, to the physician will play a role in the success of the implementation. Involvement from the stakeholders is essential to create buy in into the project and to identify any ways the EHR could fail.
Like any normal team, there needs to be leadership. In an implementation, a Physician champion should be elected. The role of the Physician champion is to provide good input and communication, and to be an energetic supporter and positive motivator throughout the project. He or she is responsible to keep driving the project forward despite any road blocks that lie ahead.
Lastly, like any good team, practice makes perfect. It is incumbent of the staff to learn and practice. The more and more you practice with the system, the more familiar and comfortable you will be. This will ease any anxiety and in turn provide confidence within the group.
2) Setting realistic goals and expectations.
Implementing an EHR is by no means an easy task. A successful implementation involves a great deal of planning long before you go live. One of the first tasks during the process is to create a realistic implementation timeline that everyone is comfortable with. It is important to be flexible and open to modifying the schedule if necessary. Also, remember that you don’t have to do everything at once. A phased-in, incremental approach is suggested so that users are not learning everything at once and become overwhelmed. Another important aspect of the implementation is staying focused throughout the project. Staying on schedule in the timeline is more about making the EHR implementation a priority.
3) Positivity despite challenges.
Many challenges and frustrations will present themselves during an implementation. It will create uncertainty and doubts as to whether these challenges can be overcome. It is important to stay positive and realize that there is no reason why these challenges can’t be overcome.
4) Consult with experts with EHR experience .
It is a tall order to successfully implement an EHR without prior experience. There are many aspects of an implementation that can be overlooked that may result in failure. Assistance from someone with experience in implementing EHR systems can make a difference towards the outcome of the implementation ….. Visit www.sunrize.com or call 888-880-0384 to speak with one of our experts on implementation of an EHR.