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      6 min read

      EHR Implementation Plan: Tips To Succeed Or Fail

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      Sometimes it's just as important to learn how NOT to do something as it is to learn how to do it correctly. That logic certainly applies to practices switching out EHR software systems. There are right ways and wrong ways to do it, and you can learn just as much from one as the other. 

      Reluctant Staff May Thank You later If You Take These Tips To Heart 

      Remember the last time your medical practice announced it was switching to a new software system and everyone jumped from their seats and cheered in wild anticipation? "About time!" they screamed.

      If you don't remember, it's probably because that never happened. Ever. Even when a new electronic health record (EHR) system is a much-needed improvement, people typically don't welcome change if only because it means having to learn something new. 

      Later, after the transition is complete, they may look back and wonder how they ever got anything done on that stinky old software they used to work on. "What a dinosaur that was!" The trick, of course, is to get them from "before" to "after." Below are some tricks and tips - advised and ill-advised - to consider as your practice manages its EHR transition.

      Let's begin with  the ill-advised tips. Although offered tongue-in-cheek, there is much to be gleaned from these light-hearted lessons. We hope they serve as shining examples of how not to transition to a new EHR:

      6-tips to fail an ehr implementation

      6 EHR Transition Tips Doomed To Fail

      1. Spring it on ‘em! What project management? Everyone loves a surprise, and nothing says “Surprise!” like giving your staff no warning that a new EHR system is on the way. Helpful hint: Telling them last thing on Friday or just before a holiday is always a nice touch.

      2. Keep them in the dark: Some leaders believe it’s important to tell staff how their new EHR system will ultimately make their jobs easier - that this will somehow promote “buy-in” from the staff. This, of course, is nonsense. All they need to know is that their jobs are on the line if they don’t learn this new software pronto. Remember: Knowing how to motivate is key to effective leadership!

      3. Too busy for training: Setting aside time for “proper training” is best done in moderation and only during workday lunch breaks. After all, your practice is already busy enough without any unnecessary training distractions. That’s what after-hours and weekends are for, right? Remember: Training isn’t your priority, it’s theirs.

      4. Hurry up: A great way to keep your staff on its toes is to keep them guessing about the rollout timeline. Make it a moving target, although honestly, sooner is better than later. Why? Less time for them to moan and groan about the new EHR software when all you’re trying to do is make their jobs easier. (Ingrates.)

      5. Divide and conquer: Your tech-savvy employees should immediately catch on to the new software, but don't let these “super-users” help train the super-slow learners. This tough-love, best-practice tactic separates the wheat from the chaff and, truth be told, is a great way of determining who stays or goes.

      6. One time’s enough: Follow-up training is woefully overrated. Employees who don’t “get it” at first probably never will. After all, you were told your new software is "intuitive" and "user-friendly." Isn't that practically the same as saying “no training required”?

      Well, no, not exactly. In fact, it doesn't mean that at all.

      Then what does it mean?

      The Challenge Of Change: Resist The Resistance


      What it means is that training is prerequisite for all practices implementing new EHR software, regardless of how intuitive or user-friendly it might be. It also means that with proper training, practice and support, the new software should soon become second-nature.

      In short, the smooth transition from old to new also requires a high level of research, careful planning, and practice-awareness that extends well beyond the initial rollout.

      Be aware that even after years of working on clunky, inefficient and outdated software, many staff are likely to dig in their heels and resist or delay change as long as possible. Much of this pushback may be rooted in their comfortable familiarity with a flawed system - and also a general fear of the unknown, especially if switching from paper to digital for the first time. 

      So, what can be done to lower their guards and make the transition as easy as possible for them and for yourself? 

      see why insync healthcare solutions is highly rated10 Tips For A Successful ehr implementation

      1. Give staff a voice: Before your search for new EHR software even begins, solicit input from the practice - clinical and administrative - that can aid in understanding what kind of features and functions they'd like the new software to include. Field questions, listen to ideas and concerns, and make them part of the decision.

      2. What's in it for me?: Change is rarely met with enthusiasm. Hesitation? Resistance? Avoidance? Yes. So, how do you get past that? Explain the vision and benefits of the new software. "Here's where we are. Here's where we want to be. Here's how we can get there. And here's how this will make your job and your life easier." 

      3. Fair warning: Clearly communicate the timeline for new EHR training and implementation. Include short- and long-term goals and a schedule for training and rollout. Instead of uncertainty, provide structure, a forum for feedback, and time for everyone to process, accept and embrace the coming change.

      4. Lead by example: Believing that EHR software is primarily an administrative tool, some leaders excuse themselves from the software selection and implementation process. This is a mistake because they have much to offer. And by engaging from the start, they set the stage for others to follow their lead and take this transition seriously. 

      5. Time for training: Go into this transition understanding your staff's workload and that proper training takes time. This is not a time for "business as usual," so make a plan and dedicate enough time and resources to ensure a smooth rollout. Help create time by scaling back appointments during this period if possible. 

      6. Staff assessments: Before training, assess the skill-level and training needs of your staff. Identify tech-savvy individuals with collaborative skills who can be trained as super users to help train additional users. Also, identify those who will require additional instruction to become proficient on the new software. Then divide the staff into respective/appropriate training groups based on skill level and/or department EHR workflows.

      7. Avoid information overload!: Teach and train each person only what they'll need to know for their job or department. Few, if any, will ever need to "know it all."

      8. Learn by doing: It's not enough to think that PowerPoint, E-Learning or video presentations are enough. Give users a chance to "kick the tires" of the new software before the first day of training. Then, during training, equip everyone with software access, reference material and/or a "cheat sheet" that will enable learn-by-doing education.

      9. Routine refreshers: During training, users are given a lot to absorb in a short amount of time. Almost impossible to remember it all. What should you do? After implementation, send regular messages (email, Teams, etc.) with helpful tips and reminders that build on their training. Content for these messages can be solicited from staff.

      10. Continuing education: Be aware that learning never ends. After learning the basics, it's helpful for users to go back and learn the finer points. Also, there will (hopefully) always be software enhancements and updates that require additional training. The ultimate goal is for everyone to get the most out of the system that they can. 

      EHR Vendor Support A Difference-Maker During EHR Transition And Beyond 

      It's one thing to find EHR software that best suits your practice. It's another if the potential vendor doesn't fully support your healthcare organization after the purchase of that software. Software without adequate support is no bargain.

      Vendor support is typically automatic for any initial implementation process, though with varying levels of efficiency or expertise. Quality vendor support, however, extends throughout the duration of the contract. At InSync Healthcare Solutions, we provide technical support for the lifetime of our client-vendor relationship.

      Our support includes:

      • An implementation team that configures the software to streamline workflow efficiencies for your practice specialty

      • Providing webinar trainings for all software updates and enhancements

      • Troubleshooting as questions or issues arise throughout Support team

      Are you looking for a smooth transition to a new EHR system? To check out InSync's fully integrated, interoperable and mobile-friendly system, schedule a demo to see how our software can improve your EHR experience.

      Are you considering converting from a paper-based system to EHR? Click here to download a free guide to help prepare yourself.

       

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