EHR implementations – A walk in the park…right?

Successful EHR implementations…is that an oxymoron? Can anything be called successful when there are so many stakeholders with so many differing opinions on what “successful” actually is? Ultimately in my mind, if the patient is served in the way that can help their care provider efficiently manage their care in way that aids in the recovery process, I would believe that the medical record has done it’s job and therefore the provider has had a successful group of initiatives.

Hearing of yet another CEO of a healthcare provider who has resigned in Georgia over the poor rollout of the EHR only emboldens critics of the move towards electronic health records. With the reluctance by many physicians to make this change, leveraging a CMIO will allow for an individual that exudes empathy towards their challenges. Building a strong strategy and having a good working relationship with a vendor or a set of vendors will help your chances of success greatly. Realizing that this will be a collaborative organizational endeavor is the first step in the road to success. Reaching out to organizations that have done this before and being able to “not reinvent the wheel” will greatly assist your team.

Many IT and provider organizations seem to think that reaching out is a weakness. It is actually, in my opinion, shows strength of character as show you want to make sure that your patients have the best possible care through efficient processes and use of resources. I heard of an organization in one of the Carolinas recently that refused assistance from another provider who had completed their EHR implementation. I wondered what would possess them not to take them up on their offer. I’m proud that our Ohio organizations collaborate and I have personally seen instances of positive information and best practices sharing that I know this to be true.

Defining an implementation time line that is realistic, but also does not drain your resources and allowing for risks, both negative and positive that could affect it. Leveraging outside groups to give you an understanding of budgeting for your initiative (such as attending HIMSS conferences, both chapter and national) would help in this task. Being able to get the appropriate stakeholders and clinical personnel to document clinical workflow requirements, both in terms of software requirements and hardware or infrastructure needs. Many forget the budget for hardware and will need to work with operational and administrative staff to understand the full extent of their current workflows that require such things as bar code scanners, medication dispensing stations, zebra printers and the requirements for PC or laptop distribution and deployments along with the needs of authentication due to comply with their states board of pharmacy requirements.

Understanding the needs of Revenue Cycle and not setting go lives around such things as, for instance the new date for ICD-10 go live (now October 1st, 2015) is crucial in being able to appropriately utilize as much of the same resources for a single initiative as possible.

Being good change managers and training the practices in as many aspects of the initiative as possible, keeping in mind that it is easy to forget the functionality of the new system and having patience during the cutover process are keys to this long, but in my opinion, ultimately needed endeavor.




One thought on “EHR implementations – A walk in the park…right?

  1. Seth Thomas

    Collaboration between non-profit Clinical Research Organizations, even those that are in direct competition with each other, happens frequently but operational collaboration seems to rarely occur and is often frowned upon. The bottom line is that collaboration in it’s simplest form is “sharing data”. If a Healthcare organization truly wants to provide the best possible patient care it would only make sense that they would want data from other organizations AND that they would WANT TO SHARE their own implementation data. The fear of negative financial impact has created a culture of “what’s mine is mine and you can’t have it”. Look at companies such as Zappos who have embraced collaboration and employee engagement…they are thriving. Healthcare organizations can also thrive in this way without losing their edge. Great Caregivers and operational effectiveness make a Healthcare organization stand above the rest, not how they structured their EMR testing or how they configure their HL-7 interfaces.

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