If you’re not using an Electronic Health Records (EHR) system yet, you will be soon. Adopting an EHR for your busy medical practice can be a daunting undertaking. You may have heard horror stories about other practices implementing a system. How can you be sure that your EHR adoption isn’t going to go wrong as well?
EHR Adoption — What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Well, lots, actually. Implementing an EHR costs money and time. If you aren’t willing to invest a little up front, you’re almost guaranteed to lose quite a bit of both in the end — on top of having an unsuccessful implementation.
How to Not Implement an EHR
There are a few things to look out for when choosing and then implementing an EHR. If you know about them in advance, you have a healthy chance of avoiding them when the time comes for you to adopt an EHR.
You have quite a lot to decide when you choose an EHR, too, so it’s important — crucial — to know all your options before you begin the process of choosing an EHR for your practice.
[Also: Top 20 Most Populare EHR Systems]
1) Not Training Your Staff
Ideally, look for an EHR that offers training at set up and after your go live date. Initial and follow up training is going to be crucial to your success.
Don’t expect that training to be all online, either. You’re going to want personalized instruction on setting up the new system. Having a trained person on-site there to answer questions and ensure that everyone understands the system is a key component to the success of your EHR implementation.
So make sure that all staff are trained on the EHR system you decide to use, and look for an option that provides that training for you.
2) Not Allowing Enough Training
An ounce of prevention...You know the rest. Making sure everyone on staff is properly trained and has had enough time to ask questions and fully understand the system is central to success.
Your staff are going to have to interact with the EHR system regularly, and if they don’t feel fully versed in how to use it before you implement it, your practice will not successfully adopt this new system.
Do not think that you can save a bit of time training staff in order to get the system up and running faster. By taking the time to ensure that everyone feels comfortable, you’ll save valuable time (and money) later on.
3) Choosing the Cheapest Option
Obviously, you want to choose an EHR system that is a good fit, and your budget is definitely one of the parameters that you are going to need to fit within. But at the same time, only looking at the cheapest option may be a bad long-term decision.
Make sure that you have found a modern system that has all the important features you need to keep your practice running smoothly. You want to be able to comply with the changing incentive programs, of course, but beyond that, a good EHR system should ultimately save your practice time and money.
Also be cautios of EHRs that are "out of the box". Looking for an "out of the box" EMR that improves your practice workflows and boost productivity is just not possible.
You would probably agree that the way your practice does things is completely different from another and that everyone learns differently. To accommodate both of these things you will need
1. A customizable EMR software
2. A trainer (not online videos)
Once you've found an EHR with the features you need, make sure your training aligns with it.
Purchasing an EHR with multiple modules, features, and customization options means your staff has more to learn. Choosing a training package based on costs could lead to poor utilization of the EHR and ultimately poor adoption and EHR dissatisfaction.
4) You Choose an EHR With Few or No Integrations
If you find that your EHR has few (or worse, no) integrations, you’re never going to use it. Or, you’ll try to use it, but by the third time your staff has to logout of your EHR system and log in to another system, you’re going to be wishing you had thought this one through.
Most modern EHR systems integrate with other systems you need to use to keep your practice running smoothly. Don’t cut corners here.
Similarly, try to adopt an EHR with an integrated practice management (PM) system. Without being able to seamlessly flow between your EMR and PM system, you’re going to be constantly frustrated and most likely will not end up fully adopting the EHR system.
[Also: Switching EHR Vendors? Here are 6 Must-Have Features]
5) None of Your Staff Buy In to the New System
Finally, make sure that your staff feel part of the process, and that they have “bought in” to the idea of the new system.
Keep them in the loop as decisions are being made, and include relevant staff members in the process.
An Ounce of Prevention
Do your homework, choose the right EHR system for your practice, and spend the time to fully train all your staff on the system before you implement it. Have you recently adopted an EHR system? How was the process for you? What would you recommend a busy practice to to better implement an EHR?