In more than a decade of implementing EHR systems, we’ve seen more than our share of pitfalls. But with the right tools, training, and preparation, many of these common mistakes can be easily avoided.
Proper training is crucial to a successful implementation. Your project team will receive some form of training on the system from the vendor on setup, configurations, and the basics of the core modules, but the rest is up to the project team. It is your organization’s responsibility to create and deliver the training that allows end user staff to perform their day to day work efficiently.
It is very common to see in-depth and proper training go by the wayside as it has to happen when the system is complete. These types of sessions are also the ones that impact the most users, so it can be difficult logistically to get large blocks of time for what can be hundreds of staff without months of preparation ahead of time.
“I can’t find all the information” is a common complaint in many implementations. Missing information can tie into several factors, but it is most often a product of a scattered approach to data migration. Having a team that can identify and scrub the data ahead of the migration event itself is crucial.
Clinical data often comes from a myriad of different systems, and it is not always possible to get all of it into the EHR at first. Clear communication back to the project team can make or break an implementation. Defining what data is and is not available to reliably migrate drives critical decisions throughout the project. Often the only way to achieve complete, easy access to all necessary information is through the use of a centralized data warehouse.
Much like training, this can get pushed to the side when the project gets busiest. A clear, consistent communication plan can provide much-needed updates to staff throughout the project and drives up the adoption rate for users outside of the project team. End users can go a year or more without actually seeing the system at all. Without a consistent communication plan, they can go just as long without even hearing about it.
Make sure you are updating your organization about what is going well and what is going poorly. These updates are opportunities to keep everyone aligned, show off new features, and highlight members of the project team putting in significant extra work. There are countless wins along the way in a project this size that should be recognized.
One of our primary goals at Afia is to help healthcare organizations move from best guesses to data-driven decision-making. Over the past decade, the healthcare industry focused on transitioning to a Meaningful Use certified system, but this is just the first step in a challenging process.
Organizations can easily miss out on capturing critical data in the EHR design process by leaving key fields off of a form or failing to identify the need for an urgent report. Make sure you are keeping this information in mind during the design phase. If you don’t have a way to accurately report on the goals that you set out to achieve at the beginning of the project, you are missing a golden opportunity.
Ultimately, to improve the quality of care you provide, it’s imperative to capitalize on the technology and data available to you. By being mindful of the pitfalls outlined above and carefully executing your plan for integrated health, your organization can avoid years of rework and prepare for the changes ahead.
Interested in more information on EHR Implementations? This article is part 3 of a series on “How to Implement an EHR” successfully. Read the rest here: Part 1 – Preparing for EHR Implementation Success and Part 2 – How to create an EHR Implementation Plan.All Thought Leadership