How to Keep an EHR Implementation from Going Wrong
In our last blog, we looked at ways to choose an EHR system and create a strong foundation for implementation and everyday use in your medical practice. It is important to go into the sales process with a list of goals, proper research, time and patience so that you will choose the right system for your practice’s needs. The journey is not over once you purchase the EHR, however; you must now phase out your old system (even paper files, if applicable) and implement the new one.
Although there are numerous instances where EHR implementation can go wrong, the most common issues can be avoided!
Once the EHR is purchased, you begin the actual implementation process in your office. It is important to take your time with this, just as you did when choosing the EHR in the first place. Breezing through installation and training can cause issues further down the line. Rushing can be the fault of the practice, or the vendor.
Create a plan of action
Before training officially begins, the vendor should partner with your practice to optimize your EHR-related workflows. What you currently do does not have to change completely for the EHR to work effectively. The team should analyze what is happening and see where adjustments could be made easily both for the EHR and the practice’s workflows. Setting your office up for success from the beginning alleviates headaches later in the process.
In this initial optimization phase and beyond, you want a vendor that is responsive, easy to contact, and offers quality solutions for your issues in a timely manner. You can often recognize this during the sales process by judging how they respond to you and reading online reviews from third-party sites.
Train your staff
Develop a training plan for employees with your vendor, and remember to plan not just for the present, but for the future. It is prudent to begin by only using some of the basic features of your new EHR and then progress to more detailed and nuanced features as your staff gets comfortable with the software.
Remember that change is hard! The amount of training time and time it will take for your staff to meet the challenge of this new workflow should be realistic. Be sure that there are ample training resources available for refreshers.
Practice as usual
After all the right training and vendor-side implementation, the quality of your time with your patients should remain the same or increase. It is easy to get wrapped up in the new technology to the point that interpersonal interactions (and thus quality of care) suffer, but this is where how comfortable you are with the system as practitioner comes in. The system should not take in-person interactions away from your patients’ experience in your office but increase it.
As you begin your journey toward a better EHR purchase and implementation, you can always refer to these basic points above. For more detailed information on the matter, download our free comprehensive guide or reach out to one of our WRS Health practice management specialists.