Switching EHRs? Follow These 4 Expert Tips

If you’ve decided you just can’t make your old EHR work for your practice and you need a new one, it’s wise to go into replacement with your eyes wide open. Prepare yourself for four EHR replacement challenges that University of Colorado informatics professor and HIT expert Heather Haugen has seen time and time again in her research.

1. Don’t assume that implementation and adoption will be easier this time because you’ve already done it once. Just because you installed an EHR a few years ago doesn’t mean you still have those same people around your practice or that they even remember how they did it the first time. You need to plan your leadership, communication, and training efforts just as strategically—or perhaps even more strategically—than you did the first time.

2. Don’t assume physicians and staff will welcome the change. Everyone hates the old system so much they’ll love the new one, right? Wrong. “The day you take away a system, even from people who have complained about it, they are so mad at you because at least they knew it,” Haugen told attendees at HIMSS 2016.

3. Understand that changes in workflow and processes are difficult even when they’re a good idea. It will take time, money, and resources to train your practice on the new system.

4. Understand that a successful transition requires buy-in, time, and energy from your practice’s key leaders. As you assemble your EHR adoption team, make sure you understand the difference between authority and leadership and how that dynamic works in your practice, Haugen advises. There are people with tons of authority who don’t lead well. (Is your official ‘IT guy’ one of them?) And there are people with not much official authority who totally lead everyone in your practice.

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