EHR Implementation: 10 Key Steps to Success

EHR implementation is a complex, multi-step process. You will need a plan. A robust one!

You’ll need a plan that increases EHR adoption among providers, helps you adhere to deadlines, tests internal processes, securely migrates patient data, takes into account employee training needs the list goes on.

Even if you think your practice is not ready to achieve success in all these areas right now, with the right approach and proper planning, you will start utilizing the new EHR to its full potential.

EHR Implementation: Key Steps to Success

EHR implementation will impact every employee at your practice. Having a concrete plan will save hours of stress for everyone involved. Here are key steps for a successful EHR implementation.

  1. Assess your readiness: This is the first step in EHR implementation. Assess your current situation and understand the reasons for this move. Why do you want to move from ‘paper’ charting to ‘paperless charting’? What are your expectations from the new EHR system? Is your staff ready for the change? Do you have the technical and financial bandwidth for the change? Will the move align with your practice’s strategic goals? Is your staff computer literate, or will you have to provide basic computer literacy? These are some of the critical questions you must consider before moving to the next step.
  2. Prepare an EHR implementation plan outlineWith the self-assessment stage completed, it is now time to create a framework of the EHR implementation project. Creating a detailed checklist that will set the stage for a successful EHR implementation. In the checklist, outline all the tasks that need to be executed by physicians, IT staff, practice managers, and even your patients. Some of the essential functions include recruiting implementation committee, identifying budget and outlining costs, scheduling the implementation, migrating data, arranging training programs, EHR software testing, defining go-live activities, and identifying KPIs to measure success.
  3. Secure stakeholders’ buy-in: Getting the key stakeholders invested in EHR implementation will make a huge difference. Physicians might have concerns and anxieties about the changes in daily activities with the introduction of EHR software. Communicating the value he EHR will bring to your practice, highlighting key benefits in terms of productivity and patient experience, will help you to win over skeptics.
  4. Look for EHRs that meet your requirements: To select the right EHR for your practice, you can simply research on the Internet, or you can ask your industry friends or colleagues to recommend their favorite EHRs. Make a list of all the suitable options and take notes of their features, services, cost, etc. You can also write down questions or customization requests that you want to discuss with potential EHR vendors during the live demo.
  5. Schedule demos:After shortlisting, set up demos for each system, either in-person or online. Some of the common types of EHR demo include interactive trial demo, non-interactive video, vendor-directed live demo, and onsite demo. Take advantage of these demos to set up real-life scenarios, ask specific questions, or to understand how the EHR will address particular challenges or if the vendor can provide customized features. You must also ask the stakeholders to attend these demos so their opinions can help you make the right decision.
  6. Fix a date for EHR implementation: Though installing the EHR software might look like the final step, but it is not a single task. In fact, it is a series of activities that must happen simultaneously. These activities include hardware and software installation, configuration and customization of the system, testing user interfaces and other integrated systems, training the stakeholders and employees, mock ‘go-live’ session, data migration, and the actual rollout of the EHR system. If possible, select a date to install your EHR software during a quieter time for your practice.
  7. Plan data migration:This is one of the most critical activities for the success of your EHR implementation project. Successful data migration will allow your clinicians to access medical records for patients. When patient data is accurately migrated and when clinicians can easily access it, they will be excited to use the new system. To reduce the effort and time required to migrate data, you’ll need to decide on whether you want to migrate only current patient data or every bit of historical data as well. Once you get the data migration step right, the rewards will be great – in the form of increased employee productivity and enhanced patient experience.
  8. Conduct employee training:Selecting the right EHR system for your practice is just the beginning. The real work starts when you start training your employees and when they feel ready to work on the new EHR system. Training will vary based on your practice’s workflow, the different roles of employees, computer literacy levels, and their preferences to engage with the new system.However, to make the training effective, create department-wise schedules, and prepare specific training modules relevant to each department. In addition to face-to-face training, make sure users have access to the support package provided by the vendor.
  9. Have a risk mitigation plan in place: Even with the best technology and planning, occasional glitches may happen. EHR software is complex, and its implementation is a multi-step process, so be prepared for unforeseen situations. For instance, how will your physicians deliver patient care when the power goes out? Who will be your employees’ first point of contact if there is a system-wide malfunction? Focus on developing processes that help your employees handle the challenges of implementing EHR. You may consider compiling the instructions and storing PDF copies on a secure cloud, so your employees have quick access to troubleshooting steps.
  10. Define KPIs to evaluate the success of the new EHR system: This is the last leg of your EHR implementation planning process. This is the time to identify and key metrics against which you will measure the success of your EHR software implementation. These KPI are of different types, and the right one for your practice will depend on your goals: For instance, you can:
  • Calculate ROI to assess profitability.
  • Record patient volume to assess productivity.
  • Measure patient satisfaction through surveys to assess the quality of care.
  • Measure physician satisfaction through surveys to assess user adoption.
  • Analyze data errors to assess data input quality.

Conclusion

EHR implementation is a multi-step process that demands a lot of planning. Even if you are not installing a new system and just switching from one EHR to another, the above-discussed steps will give your project a foundation and help make the transition way smoother. A successful EHR implementation is your stepping stone to utilizing the full potential of your new system. In this article, we share 10 key steps for a successful EHR implementation. Learn More: https://tinyurl.com/Key-Steps-to-EHR-Success

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