8 Things You Must Do When Implementing EHR Systems

Cloud Based Electronic Health Record EHR

The assessment phase is probably one of the most important in determining whether your practice is either implementing EHR systems or upgrading your current system. It is a great undertaking that I assure you will prove to be truly rewarding when you see one of the major benefits of electronic health records: helping to provide quality healthcare to your patients.

In your assessment, you should first reflect upon your own practice lifestyle, and then your current practice. Ask yourself:

  • Do I feel I am headed towards accomplishing my goals after graduating from medical school?
  • Am I providing my patients with the most outstanding care they can possibly receive?
  • What am I going to do with the time saved once I implement my new EHR?
  • Can I see myself connecting with my practice, even though I can now practice without physically being in the office?
1. Assessing Your Current Practice

Think about the current state of your practice and write down the answers to these questions:

  • Are administrative processes organized, efficient and well documented?
  • Are clinical workflows efficient, clearly mapped out and understood by all staff?
  • Are data collection and reporting processes well established and documented?
  • Are staff members computer literate and comfortable with information technology?
  • Does the practice have access to high-speed internet connectivity?
  • Does the practice have access to the financial capital required to purchase new or additional hardware?
  • Are there clinical priorities or needs that should be addressed?
  • Does the practice have specialty specific requirements?
2. Envisioning the Future

The next Electronic Health Records implementation step is to envision the future state of your practice. What would the practice leadership like to see different in the future? More specifically, what will be different for the patients, for the providers and for the staff?

3. Setting Key Goals

Your goals should follow the “SMART” goal process (pecific, easurable, ttainable, elevant, ime-bound) and be measurable, quantifiable and realistic. These goals will motivate providers and practice staff to make necessary changes and attain new skills.

4. Planning Your Approach

An effective first step in the planning process is for your Implementation Team to segment tasks into three categories:

  • What new tasks and/or process are we going to begin starting today?
  • What tasks and/or processes are we going to stop doing right away?
  • What tasks and/or processes are we going to continue performing?

These questions are particularly helpful because they help clarify what the new work environment will be like after the change and help the team prioritize tasks in the overall implementation plan.

Things that should be considered during this phase include such items as which documents to convert from paper to digital, what particular information to convert, who will be entering the information, which security rights will be necessary and identifying problem areas and bottlenecks.

5. Selecting An EHR

After identifying your key goals, establishing the practice’s objective(s) and planning how EHRs will affect workflows, the leadership team and staff can determine what to look for when considering and selecting an electronic health records system. Some things to consider may include:

  • ICD-10 capabilities
  • reporting functionality
  • price
  • user friendliness
  • required hardware, maintenance and upgrade costs
  • troubleshooting and technical support offerings
  • ability to integrate with other products

An excellent software called FiEHR (ully ntegrated lectronic ealth ecords) has everything your practice would need with round-the-clock technical support. Learn more by clicking here.

6. Training Staff

After you have selected and installed your electronic health records software, you’ll need to have training sessions that should be performed outside of clinical work sessions to ensure the least amount of disruption to the workday. To achieve this, be prepared to block off time, hire temporary employees and offer to pay if staff is training outside of their usual work schedule. When you feel confident that your staff is ready, you can move onto the go-live.

7. Going Live

Schedule the go-live in close proximity to the end of the training sessions so staff does not forget important information. A general rule of thumb is to avoid allowing more than 1 week between the end of training and go-live.

8. Continuing To Monitor For Quality Improvement

This final phase is to continue improving quality of care by reassessing what you have learned from training and everyday use of the system. It emphasizes continuous evaluation of your practice’s goals and needs post implementation to continue improving workflows while leveraging the functionality of electronic health records.

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