Tips for Successful EHR Adoption

Tips for Successful EHR Adoption

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An Electronic Health Record (EHR) is an electronic version of a patient’s medical history which automates access to information and is shared between multiple healthcare organizations This tool not only streamlines the workflow and processes for the clinicians and staff but also makes it easier for the patient to access their medical history. It can help to reduce medical error, improve efficiency and improve the delivery of preventative care. Choosing the right EHR is one of the most important decisions a healthcare organization can make. This article is intended to help ensure you are properly prepared for a successful adoption with as few ‘kinks’ as possible.

First, you will need to assess your organization’s readiness for an EHR.  Is your organization’s software and equipment compatible with the new tool you have selected? Do you have the right support for a successful implementation? Be clear on your strategy and vision for this project and include your goals and objectives. I highly recommend establishing a communication plan with your staff to ensure they are aware of the upcoming change and can voice their concerns and opinions before the adoption of the  new EHR. This will help ensure the implementation is successful and you are properly prepared for this change. This will also help your staff to welcome and embrace this new tool which can help smooth the transitional process and make it a success.

Secondly, establish a budget and project team. Your budget should include hardware, software, interfaces, support services and training, including extra labor hours so you have proper staff coverage during training. Your project team should include a project manager, clinicians, data base administrator and administrative support personnel. Be sure to select ‘technical savvy’ users who can help your remaining staff with questions during and after the implementation.

Choose the right vendor and ensure the vendor will provide long-term support and upgrades. With the many upcoming technology advancements be sure you are choosing a system that can adapt to change and continue to improve over time. You don’t want to implement a new EHR every few years, choose a vendor that will help your organization grow and stay current with technology advancements.

Manage change and redesign work flow. Start by making a list of your current processes and work flows. Create a ‘current process’ work flow diagram and then have the diagram reviewed by multiple staff members to ensure its accuracy. How will these processes change and improve efficiency with the new EHR? Create a revised work flow diagram and distribute it to your staff.

So remember these tips; Access your organization’s readiness for this upgrade, establish a budget and project team, redesign your work flow and most importantly, choose the right vendor. Now, you’re ready to embrace the change and welcome a successful EHR implementation.

~ Danielle French