Essential Steps in EHR Implementation
The process of EHR implementation can be a long and potentially difficult one. There needs to be a structured plan to progress forward smoothly
There’s a lot to consider when implementing your Electronic Health Records. With so much to think about, you may be worried something might slip through the cracks.
We’ve created a comprehensive list of essential steps to complete during the EHR implementation process.
The process of EHR implementation can be a long and potentially difficult one. There needs to be a structured plan to progress forward smoothly. Keep reading to find out what you need to know before undergoing this process.
EHR Implementation Benefits
The 21st Century Cures Act has contributed to the optimization of EHRs and improving the communication of medical data as needed between health organizations.
Electric health records (EHR) uses software to safely store medical documents and information in a form that is easily retrieved and shared for the purpose of providing efficient patient care.
Your EHR can either be hosted on computers within your office or remotely such as cloud-based or internet-based. There are always opportunities to improve your EHR system and find new ways to optimize workflows.
Navigate Upfront Costs
Your initial time and cost for an EHR implementation is going to be high but the switch to EHR will benefit your business and patients in the long run. You will reap the benefits of greater efficiency as well as the rewards of saving money.
Be prepared to invest in the cost of the system itself as well as effective employee training. You don’t want to skimp when it comes to the implementation process. Trying to cut corners, in the beginning, could affect your business in the long run.
A quality EHR implementation plan can’t be rushed. The better you can plan for your EHR the more smoothly your implementation is likely to go. Even though your team may require some customization for your system, it’s recommended to stick with best practices. Even if that means altering your workflows.
This is because extreme customizations can have a lot of room for error and malfunction. Best practices that the system already uses are created that way for a reason. They’ve already been tested and used by other practices so they are proven to be reliable.
Change can be tough at first but using the system the way it was intended will not only save you time but a lot of money in the long run. It may also cut down on the amount of testing needed to get your EHR up and running.
Choose a Vendor
As mentioned earlier, there are two basic ways your software can be hosted. There are pros and cons to local and remote hosting but many recommend switching to a remotely hosted platform.
You might want to consider a web-based EHR system that allows for more options in the payment structure. In some cases, web-based systems will let you pay based on collections rather than upfront costs. You could give a 90 days’ notice and walk away from the system without additional back charges.
Otherwise, you could be stuck using a system that you don’t like. Web-based systems are also easy to access remotely when needed. However, they rely on the internet to access them. So be sure you have a secure connection that is reliable.
Before moving forward with a vendor it’s important to completely understand the fine print of the contract. Don’t be afraid to negotiate terms and make sure you feel confident with the company and its reviews.
Employee Education is Key
It’s important to involve your employees at all levels when implementing an EHR. This allows employees to feel part of the process and that they are being considered. If they understand how this new system will benefit them directly, they are more likely to embrace the training and want to integrate the system into their daily work.
Communication throughout the planning and implementation is key to understand what features are necessary. It also helps them to understand how the EHR will fit into their work life. Regular training and consultation will help employees understand how to use the EHR properly.
This can avoid unnecessary lag in work and services. Repetition is needed when it comes to training employees on new systems. So be prepared to train on certain areas of the system multiple times. Your employees will need support throughout, some may get frustrated when trying to adjust to all the changes.
Testing & Re-Testing
Throughout the implementation process, expect to test the usability of the EHR system. The purpose of using an EHR system is to put the patient first without too much strain on your practice.
Testing throughout the development and implementation of the system helps you to keep moving forward and avoid major setbacks down the road. You don’t want to reach the end of implementation only to find that a key element was flawed from the beginning.
Errors in the system that could have been spotted earlier could lead to major delays in your implementation plan. It can also lead to dangerous errors and patient harm.
There are also EHR safety net programs that can help to alert you of potential errors or gaps in care. It’s important that physicians feel comfortable addressing potential or actual gaps in patient care so that the system can be improved using prompts to identify these gaps.
Make Your EHR Implementation a Success
There are a lot of factors to consider when going through a new or existing EHR implementation process. In some ways, the implementation of your EHR never ends because there are always new ways to improve current processes and make them more efficient and better for the patient.
We hope this information has helped you better prepare for your implementation. But don’t stop here. We have even more vital information to improve your practice and patient experience. For professional help and EHR implementation support, contact us here.