If you are struggling with eClinicalWorks adoption or looking for ways to implement new features, you've probably considered EHR optimization. But like most, you might also be wondering where to start? The truth is that every practice is at a different place on the roadmap to eClinicalWorks success. This means that your eCW optimization roadmap needs to focus on solving your practice's challenges and achieving your specific goals.
Step 1: Assess Strengths and Weaknesses by Conducting a Database Review
A common mistake we see when it comes to eClinicalWorks optimization is setting goals before capturing the current state of your eClinicalWorks database. Conducting an eCW database review before moving forward with your eCW optimization project helps you achieve two things:
- An accurate picture of your current database to reference in the future.
- A better understanding of root issues.
Start by capturing a picture of your current database and documenting what's working well and what isn't working. Consider reviewing feature utilization, settings, integrations, patient experience, clinician experience, reporting, etc. It helps you set a detailed plan of action but also prove the ROI of your eCW optimization project once it is completed.
The second benefit of conducting a database review is that it will help you address root issues, not just symptoms. For example, a symptom could be that providers spend too much time after hours catching up on administrative tasks. By conducting a database review, we might find that there are workflow changes and additional features like speech recognition tools that could reduce the amount of work required after hours.
2. Create a Plan with S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Now that you have completed a database review, it's time to create a plan. When you are creating your eCW optimization plan, whether alone or as part of a committee to oversee the project, keep in mind the SMART framework and make sure your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
Some common goals we hear from our eClinicalWorks optimization projects include:
- Optimize the front office and billing processes to reduce duplicate claims
- Boost patient engagement efforts by implementing Messenger, Portal, and Healow
- Reduce the number of incomplete encounters through workflow improvements
- Improve out of office charge capture process
- Upgrade to the newest version of eCW and utilize the browser version
If you find that your eCW optimization project is too large or complex to handle in-house, research eClinicalWorks training, consulting, and optimization partners. Partnering with an outside firm to assist with your eCW optimization can bring an often necessary outside perspective to the project and free up your in-house resources for other priorities. Contact us if you would like to learn more about Revele's eClinicalWorks Training, Consulting, and Optimization Services.
Step 3: Implement
When it comes to implementation, most healthcare organizations assume it must be done onsite. While nothing can replace an eCW trainer or consultant being onsite with your staff, the times are changing. COVID-19 has led practices to implement a new EHR fully remote, and training and optimization projects are also taking place from afar. Postponing your EHR optimization until COVID-19 is controlled or better yet, obsolete, can place you even further behind than you are today.
New features are being developed to help healthcare transition to this "new normal," and, according to EHR Intelligence, we're seeing some health systems and healthcare organizations no longer facing the first influx of COVID-19 patients prioritize EHR optimizations and health IT projects.
The recent need to transition to telehealth and consider remote patient monitoring has many taking notice of how beneficial new features can be, leading them to question what else might be available that they aren't fully utilizing today.
Regardless of how you implement your eCW optimization, there are a few best practices we recommend:
- Prioritize Patient Safety: This may sound like a no-brainer, but if you are making changes to workflows or how information is managed in your EHR, you always need to keep patient safety.
- Don't underestimate the role of communication. Communicate often with stakeholders so that they see the end goal and what's in it for them. Your communication will play a key role in whether end-users know the value of the optimization project.
- Create a strong project management environment. Early on, establishing the project management and leadership efforts will save your eCW optimization when things get out of control. The old saying "hope for the best but plan for the worst" applies here.
- Revisit project budget and scope frequently. By revisiting the project scope and cost requirements, you can proactively manage any unexpected costs or challenges to keep your project on track.
Step 4: Evaluate and Measure Success
Post eClinicalWorks optimization success relies heavily on how you will continue to evaluate and measure success according to your project goals. Many eCW users decide early on to gather clinician satisfaction feedback and compare it to feedback captured post optimization to see how changes have impacted clinician satisfaction with the software.
In addition to this end-user feedback, eClinicalWorks Business Optimizer (eBO) can be leveraged to report productivity, jelly bean open items by user, and many other clinical and administrative reports to help you measure your practice's unique needs.
If, in the process, you find that you need custom reporting in eClinicalWorks to evaluate and measure your optimization success, contact us for help. We offer eClinicalWorks custom reporting services that can provide you with actionable insights.
Remember, your eClinicalWorks optimization project isn't a one-time event. Consider the future and make eCW optimization a quarterly or annual initiative to ensure continued success and EHR ROI.