Six Steps to a Successful Electronic Health Records (EHR) Implementation
Electronic Health Records are transforming how organizations in the healthcare sector work, for the better. But before your facility can take advantage of an EHR system, you need to ensure the system is implemented correctly. Here are six steps you should take.
1. Set Up the Right Team
While EHR technology can help healthcare facilities and associated organizations in a myriad of ways, which ultimately leads to better patient care, to successfully implement an EHR system, you need to have the right team of people behind it.
Three essential roles you should introduce with your EHR implementation are a lead superuser, a lead physician, and a project manager. The lead superuser would be your in-house EHR expert, whose duties would include things like creating templates, developing workflows, and coming up with standard operating procedures. The lead physician’s role would involve guiding teams through the EHR system and acting as a link between frontline users and technical members of staff. The project manager would be the main point of contact with the EHR vendor and the staff; and would track progress and deal with any user issues.
2. Prepare the EHR Software so That it Is Compliant with HIPAA
When preparing your EHR software, it is important that the security measures are compliant with HIPAA’s Administrative Simplification provisions, which help to protect patients’ confidentiality.
Your organization needs to understand the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act’s rules and ensure all formal compliance requirements are met. That includes meeting both state and federal requirements.
3. Determine Your Hardware Needs
While an EHR system can majorly improve workflows and increase efficiency, it will be difficult to fully achieve that if end users do not have easy access to the digital information contained within EHR software. That means it is imperative that your facility has the right hardware and enough hardware. For instance, you may wish to provide each member of staff with his or her own tablet or install printers in most rooms. Without the right hardware, workflows and efficiency can suffer, so make sure you determine your hardware needs.
4. Determine How You Will Transfer Data to the New EHR System
Transferring data from your former record system to the new EHR system is one of the most crucial steps for successful EHR implementation. The first things to do are determine how you will migrate data from the previous system to the new one and decide if you can assign existing members of staff to do that or whether you need to hire additional temporary staff.
5. Implement an Excellent Training Program
With all of the technical legwork out of the way, one of the key steps you need to address is staff training. Your brand-new EHR system may have numerous benefits and capabilities, but every authorized user needs to know how to use the system correctly if you want everything to run smoothly.
Extensive training is imperative. You should create a training plan that each member of staff can engage with and learn the relevant skills and knowledge prior to launching the system.
6. Enable Every User to Give Feedback
No system is perfect until everyone knows how to use it and becomes accustomed to it. So, after you roll out the EHR system, keep a close eye on how staff members are using it. Be sure to gather feedback from staff members in all areas of your facility and, if required, take steps to improve processes. That could be as simple as providing more staff training or you could need to tweak the system itself to match your organizational needs.
Make sure you keep lines of communication open to all staff members. When every member of staff works together and is open in their feedback, your EHR system will start to majorly improve workflows. In turn, that will lead to better patient care.