Whether your medical practice is switching over to a new electronic health record (EHR) system or converting from a paper chart system, the change will impact every person at your practice. Preparing your staff, setting expectations, and retaining the best EHR implementation team will help make your EHR adoption successful and your experience positive.
Here are 5 critical factors your practice should take into consideration to ensure a successful EHR implementation:
1) Workflow expertise: Finding an EHR that works best with your clinical workflow is the first step to launching a smooth implementation. Selecting an EHR vendor that employs staff with advanced experience in your specialty will yield favorable results in the short and long term. Working with an implementation team that specializes in your particular workflow—and understands the nuances of your day-to-day clinic—will result in maximized productivity and efficiency throughout your office(s).
2) A dedicated implementation team: Converting to an EHR system is a team effort; it must be done together—the EHR vendor and your practice are partners in the process. Request the names and professional background information of the implementation team members from the EHR vendor. Familiarize yourself with their experience in the field and success rate by asking their EHR references these 12 crucial questions. Appoint a “champion” at your practice to become the point person, facilitate communication between the EHR vendor and your staff members, and maintain a progress report to keep everyone on track. Most importantly, this champion will become the “super user” of the EHR software. This is the individual your staff can go to for answers to their questions and who will ensure that your implementation and adoption of the EHR runs smoothly.
3) Professional training: The EHR vendor’s implementation team should manage and plan administrative rights and create a training timeline for your staff. Find out how many hours the EHR vendor will spend with your staff and if there are any additional costs if more training time is needed. Your appointed super user should participate in all sessions and become the “go-to person” if your staff runs into any roadblocks.
4) Adequate hardware: Purchasing and using the right hardware for your EHR is critical. Whether you opt for a server-based or hosted EHR solution, EHR performance starts with the right foundation. The EHR vendor can make specification recommendations for desktops, laptops, tablets, servers, and other hardware items that best suit their EHR software. Adhere to the vendor’s recommendation or find comparable technology. The bottom line is: don’t be frugal when it comes to the hardware needed to run your EHR system. Installing the wrong hardware can lead to slow system performance or even system failure.
5) Open integration: Software integration between the EHR system and other external and internal systems such as your practice management, PACS, transcription, and lab systems streamlines workflow. When considering EHRs, select a system that allows for the easy, seamless transmission of data to and from your practice. This eliminates duplication of data, provides real-time information updates, and allows more time for your staff to address other business and/or patient needs.
Plan a solid EHR implementation foundation and build upon it with good habits that promote success throughout your EHR adoption. Successful adoption is not achieved at the conclusion of the implementation but rather continues in an ongoing process. Be sure the EHR vendor you select will go the extra mile to support your medical practice throughout your partnership.