The implementation of electronic health record systems have driven substantial improvements in patient outcomes, revenues, and healthcare efficiencies over the past few years. Despite being largely indispensable in a medical setting, a faulty or incorrect implementation can have disastrous consequences, which is why EHR implementation has turned into a specialised field of its own.
Coming under the purview of healthcare information technology, successful EHR implementation requires a series of strategies and best practices, developed over 1,000s of projects, and their varying outcomes.
In this article, we aim to provide a brief primer on some essential strategies and best practices to ensure seamless integration and successful outcomes for healthcare organisations and practitioners.
Irrespective of the broad range of use cases, practice types, and solutions, the goal of a successful EHR implementation project can be boiled down to the following,
While changing systems between old to new, the resulting friction or disruptions should be kept to a minimum.
Clear lines must be established between vendors, and all relevant stakeholders.
Practitioners, care-teams, and other stakeholders should adopt the EHR solution quickly, with little-to-no hesitations.
The benefits of the EHR implementation, and the value unlocked by the same must be evident straight-away.
The course of implementing an EHR system is rife with pitfalls, and when it comes to healthcare organisations, such errors and pitfalls must be brought down to the bare minimum.
With the above-mentioned goals in mind, here are certain strategies and best practices to achieve successful EHR implementation,
To ensure perfect communication, and points of contact to deal with and address issues, there needs to be an EHR implementation committee.
This committee must be empowered to take any and all decisions necessary for the successful implementation, all the while being responsible and accountable for the results and outcomes of the same.
The members of this committee should ideally include the project manager, the leads, developers, quality assurance professionals, along with certain nominees from the customer’s side.
The EHR committee should then be tasked with building a roadmap for the implementation with a strict timeline.
A roadmap should essentially include all essential tasks that need to be completed, the deadlines for the same, while assigning responsibilities and accountability accordingly.
As the implementation process continues in full-swing, with challenges recognised and dealt with by the committee, another team should start parallelly working towards training the staff, addressing their concerns, and recording their feedback.
The process of going live requires a roadmap of its own, with a clear understanding of critical aspects, and additional testing and monitoring systems to deal with the same.
Bugs and issues are part and parcel of this, and the only option is to identify and deal with them as and when they keep arising.
Once the solution is effectively deployed, the committee should still stay on top of its functioning while tracking key metrics and indicators.
There will likely be issues or errors that keep inevitably cropping-up, especially in the initial few days that need to be dealt with.
Following this, it is essential to take feedback from all stakeholders, while changing and optimising the system accordingly.
Healthcare IT is often unlike any other, and requires extensive planning and forethought given the implications of mistakes and failure.
The above-mentioned practices should lay the foundation for an effective implementation, but most actual projects require a lot more grunt work and come with substantially heightened levels of complexity.