3 common EHR implementation pitfalls and how to avoid them

You have made it through the EMR selection process, congratulations. You have earned yourself a bit of breathing room, but only enough for a few breaths. Now, well, now it is time to embark on the arduous (but redeeming) task of EMR implementation. If you are a planner, this part may be a breeze because you recognize the importance of well thought out, timed, and realistic EMR implementation plan. While there are many ways EMR implementation can accelerate your practice, there are also many pitfalls that can accompany it.

Let’s delve into three common EMR implementation drawbacks…

1. Limited investment into training hours

A new EMR system requires training. If you are transferring to a new EMR from a previous vendor, you may not require as much training, however, you will still need to know how to move throughout your new system. For those practices that are moving from paper based charting systems to an EMR solution, training is a MUST and we cannot stress that enough. Training influences the adoption of the new EMR system from your staff. It will also provide them with the confidence and know how to move throughout their workflow when it comes time to update, register, and document on a patient’s encounter. 

When your practice is implementing a new EMR, it is easy to want to cut costs. Training is not where you want to “trim the fat.” If your staffers cannot seamlessly move through their workflow during a trial run on your new system prior to your go live date, it may be time to invest in more training. 

2. Fear of change

Many of us do not enjoy change, and that’s because it is difficult and frightening. With EMR implementation, the fear of change can hold your team back from truly experiencing all of capabilities an EMR has to offer. The most important thing to do is to do address employee fears, worries, and concerns. From there, instill them with the confidence, training, and knowledge to be able to perform well at their jobs moving forward.

Some of your team members may be holding back because they aren’t tech savvy, while others may just need time. Designating a “Super User” or “EMR Champion” at your practice to answer questions, educate employees who are falling behind during implementation, and provide encouragement could help move your team forward. There are several other ways to ease the fear of change…

  • Attend your EMR vendor’s user conference gatherings
  • Talk to fellow users of your new system (your EMR vendor should be able to provide you with referral practices)
  • Sign up to receive email communications regarding trainings, webinars, updates, and more.

3. Misunderstood workflow processes

If your team and your providers do not understand or cannot relay the practice’s overall workflow, it is that much more difficult to implement an EMR. In order for your vendor to properly show and train your practice on what modules and functionality will be necessary for your practice, they need to understand how your practice operates. 

Prior to EMR implementation, be sure to define not only the workflow of your practice but of individual staff members. You should also define what the roles of your team members entail. These roles should detail who can access what information, how much information, and when he/she can access the data. If these roles and workflows are not defined, staffers end up receiving too much training on too many modules that do not affect their daily workflows. 

Some other common pitfalls that we did not touch on include: misunderstanding the importance of a well-developed implementation plan, neglecting to notify your patient base, false expectations of your EMR, and ignoring your practice’s goals. 

EMR implementation should bring your practice closer to achieving widespread goals. This could be increasing efficiency, improving patient satisfaction, or accelerating your practice in another direction. Regardless, these pitfalls don’t have to be a reality for your practice. A successful EMR implementation is within reach. To read more about EMR implementation, training, and other related topics, visit the MicroMD blog here

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Savanna Adams

About the author…

Savanna Adams is a professional and creative freelance writer. She has experience writing for practices, for companies in the technology sector, vehicles, and more. Savanna enjoys writing pieces that will help a variety of healthcare professionals practice better and get back to the business of healing.

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Savanna Adams

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