3 Common Mistakes That Can Scuttle Your EHR Implementation

With government incentives on the line and the threat of potential penalties, many practices are rushing to purchase and implement an EHR system. Unfortunately, a few common mistakes can scuttle your EHR implementation before you even getting started with the software.

1. NOT ENOUGH PREPARATION

Many practices rush into buying an EHR with little or no planning for what is the right system for their practice. When the employees sit down and start using the new system, they find their workflow is interrupted. If the user interface and options are not clear, users must hunt for the options and vital information may be lost.

  • Determine which of your practice staff members will interact directly with the system and map each step in their normal workflow process.
  • Identify which options and selections they use most often, and make sure your EHR is customized to give each user quick and easy access.
  • The main screen should have access to all the things the individual user needs at every step in the process, without overwhelming them with unnecessary options.

2. NOT GETTING BUY-IN FROM YOUR USERS

It’s natural for human beings to resist change, and there are few changes in a practice that can cause as much disruption as implementing or switching your EHR.   Practice staff often fear losing their jobs if they can’t adapt, and a disgruntled or anxious employee can poison the entire office environment against the project. For these reasons, it’s important to be up front about why you’re going through the process.

Appoint someone in the practice who is well spoken, influential and committed to the change as the project champion. They will serve as an advocate and help others understand the reasons behind the change.

3. NOT FINDING THE RIGHT PLACE FOR THE COMPUTER

We’re not talking about the location of the computer in the room here. We’re talking about balancing the relationship between the computer, the doctor and the patient in the examining room. You must find the proper balance for your practice.

Most physicians didn’t go into medicine to sit behind a computer all day, so some users ignore the computer until after the visit is over. This results in lost productivity when the health professional must enter information into the system instead of moving onto the next patient. At the opposite extreme, the physician might pay too much attention to the computer during the visit. This leaves the patient feeling neglected and disconnected from their doctor.

Every physician and practice has a normal process for patient visits. While it may not be possible to review actual visits due to patient privacy laws, you can set up mock appointments with volunteers or with the EHR vendor staff. This will help you find the proper time slot during a standard appointment to minimize lost productivity and maximize patient satisfaction.

It’s common for practices (and even some EHR vendors) to view EHR implementation as primarily a technology problem, when in reality the technology has less impact on your practice than how it will be used.

At ZH Healthcare, with our “Go-Live” assistance we can help you avoid these common but expensive mistakes and customize your EHR to fit the needs of your users and your business.

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