EHR Implementation Plan – A Complete Guide to EHR Implementation

EHR Implementation Plan - A Complete Guide to EHR Implementation

EHR implementation is a complex, multi-step process. And successful implantation can be the difference between an EHR that works well for you and one that gets in your way.

Before you start, you’ll need a plan that increases EHR adoption among your providers, helps you adhere to deadlines, tests internal processes, securely migrates patient data, and considers employee training needs, among a litany of other requirements.

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 can use your new EHR to its full potential.

Luckily, we’re here to help. Here’s everything you need to know about EHR implantation.

What is EHR implementation?

What-is-EHR-implementation

HR implementation covers everything from the planning stages to the first time you use your new EHR. Because this system will affect everyone in your practice, consider it a company-wide plan to put your EHR to use for the benefit of everyone involved, including you, your staff, and your patients.

Luckily, we’re here to help. Here’s everything you need to know about EHR implantation.

How Long Does it Take?

When it comes to a timeline, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. It will depend on several factors, including your practice size and patient volume. When you work with Eye Care Leaders, we’ll assess your unique situation before providing an estimated timeline.

EHR Implementation Steps: For Successful Implementation

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

Name your team

The first step is to decide who will be involved in selecting the right EHR and implementing it into your practice. Choose your team carefully. Too many cooks can spoil the broth, so avoid the temptation to include the whole office. Instead, opt for trusted team members. The exact roles and size of your team will depend on the size of your practice and budget. Team members can include internal stakeholders as well as outside consultants. A team might include these roles:

  • Project Manager– Someone should be in charge of assigning tasks and ensuring they are completed.
  • Application Analyst– This person should be responsible for migrating relevant data and disposing of irrelevant data.
  • Application Developer– This role is responsible for system customization.
  • QA Test Engineer– This role is responsible for system testing and performance.
  • Advocates– It’s usually wise to include advocates from among physicians, nurses, and billing departments so they can voice the concerns or questions from their teams.
  • Meaningful-Use Manager– You’ll need this role if meaningful use attestation is required.
  • Test group– Select a group of employees to test the EHR during and after implementation so they can find issues and train others.

Assess your readiness

Now that you’ve got your team, take stock of where you are. 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 of 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 should consider before moving to the next step.

Define your budget

Define-your-budget

You’re going to get quotes for the various EHR systems you consider. But those won’t be the only costs involved. Plan for additional costs including:

  • Overtime costs for staff. You probably won’t have the luxury of implementing your EHR while the practice is completely shut down. So your staff might have to work extra hours to finish their normal tasks on top of this project.
  • Network updates if necessary
  • Consultant fees
  • Training fees
  • Data backup costs. These are sometimes included in the EHR cost.

Prepare an EHR implementation plan outline

After you’ve taken stock of your team, readiness, and budget, it’s time to create a framework for the EHR implementation project. Draft a detailed checklist that will set the stage for a successful EHR implementation. Outline all the tasks that need to be executed by physicians, IT staff, and practice managers. Some of the essential functions include identifying your budget and outlining costs, scheduling the implementation, migrating data, arranging training programs, testing EHR software, defining go-live activities, and identifying KPIs to measure success.

Look for EHRs that meet your requirements

To select the right EHR for your practice, you can 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 note 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 live demos.

Schedule demos

After you create a list of contenders, set up demos for each system, either in-person or online. These demos might include interactive trial demos, non-interactive video demonstrations, vendor-directed live demo, and even onsite demos. Take advantage of these presentations 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 should also ask the stakeholders to attend these demos so their opinions can help you make the right decision.

Choose a date for EHR implementation

Though installing the EHR software might look like the final step, this isn’t a single task. In fact, it’s 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’ sessions, 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.

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 so 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.

Migration stages might include:

  • Converting old paper records to electronic records
  • Verifying data and discarding irrelevant or incorrect data
  • Setting up your EHR database
  • Mapping legacy data to new database fields
  • Transferring your data to the new system
  • Testing and verifying existing and new data

Conduct employee training

Conduct-employee-training

Selecting the right EHR system for your practice is just the beginning. The real work starts when you begin 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. But to make the training effective, create department-wide 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 your EHR provider.

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 EHRs. You might consider compiling the instructions and storing PDF copies on a secure cloud, so your employees have quick access to troubleshooting steps.

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 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

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 steppingstone to realizing the full potential of your new system.

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