The Practice Realities of EHR Implementation
EHR Implementation continues to be the nagging problem for practitioners. A 12% drop in satisfaction from all providers was noted between 2012-2012 and 2013 may turn out to be the year of changing EHRs. I have read so many articles about EHR implementation and how to fix that my head is spinning. But the major problems tend to revolve around complex data entry and how to really take advantage of EHR to increase productivity and make a difference in overall healthcare of patients.
Installation and implementation are two very different things…….you absolutely need IT for installation…….you absolutely need a entirely different mind-set for implementation. Implementation includes: (1) training (2) work flow (3) data (4) people
While there are many products that assert ease of transition from paper to implementation; no one product has a corner on that market according to numerous surveys of the marketplace. And indeed……..while there are design issues with some EHR’s the bigger issue is almost always that practices fail to recognize that implementation of an EHR has a huge impact on workflow and people……not just data. It is not the input and storage of data that causes the problems……it’s work flow and people.
Work flow, quite simply, cannot remain the same in a digital world. So what needs to change? How? When? Much of the answers of work flow needs to be decided when you are doing implementation planning with vendor……however, please keep in mind that regardless of how well you may think you have planned work flow….reality will always require you to tweak that plan. So when planning allow for that……understand that nothing is in stone…..ever……everything changes all the time. Will you have laptops in the exam rooms? Who will perform what tasks on them? Is there a need to print anything in the exam room? Are you sure? Have you decided to use I pads or smart phones in lieu of laptops? How are do you sync them with server? Who is responsible for making sure it’s properly done?
The list of considerations when planning for a EHR is long and may seem tedious……but necessary. There are two kinds of answers to work flow questions…….the one that is off the top of your head……and the one that is carefully thought through and perhaps even run by an expert……
While you may not be 200% happy with your current EHR software………before making the decision to invest in another one…….get a second opinion……think through work flow……and people……and then decide what the real problem is…….it may not be software.