Your practice is officially the owner of a brand new EHR system—and it’s wonderful! It has the required features, an ideal cost, and allows for the easy, efficient flow of data between relevant parties.
But this is only one half of the battle: no matter how perfect a system, all of that perfection will be for naught if the implementation process is subpar.
Training staff members how to use the new EHR system is a two-step battle, which allows even more room for errors. Part of this is on the vendor, who should provide training on the setup, configurations, and basics of core modules. The rest of the training process falls to the project team, who are responsible for delivering training to end-user staff members. Helpful training tools include:
A “cheat sheet” or reference page
Written instructions for later reference
Hands-on training regarding data input and selecting patient records
If training is well-rounded and well-executed—both on the part of the vendor and in-house staff—the risk of costly mistakes is greatly reduced.
Poorly Executed Data Migration
One of the most common complaints during the implementation process is the inability to find important information. If a scattered or incomplete data migration approach is in place, the data that ends up in the new EHR system may be irrelevant or unusable in some way. In order to avoid this, a healthcare organization should take the following steps:
Define migration parameters
Develop new workflows and training
Perform frequent checks
Develop a plan for any paper records—both for storage and for data input
With these steps in place, data migration can flow smoothly into a centralized data warehouse. Having all the relevant data in one place ensures that the EHR software runs as efficiently as possible.
One of the most neglected aspects of implementation is the communication plan between vendors, project team members, and general staff. While the line of communication between vendor and the project team is relatively straight-forward and direct, it’s all too easy for directions and training to fall through the cracks when it comes to trickling down to general staff members who will also be using the EHR. One way to avoid this particular mistake is to develop a clear communication plan. Keeping all members of the organization up-to-date on what aspects of implementation and usage are going well, and which ones are going poorly, ensures that everyone is on the same page.
Failing to Capitalize on Available Data
With the recent shift in the healthcare industry towards a Meaningful Use certified system, proper utilization of data is more important than ever. Leaving key fields off of a form or failing to identify which sort of reports are most valuable to end-users can sidetrack an otherwise effective implementation plan. Accurate reporting is key to the continued success of a healthcare organization—both for patients and providers alike. Ensuring that the vendor is prepared to help the project team make the most of the features provided by the EHR is an easy way to avoid this slip-up.