How to pull together an EHR selection dream team
The robustness of the EHR selection process will be reflected in the characteristics of the selection team. A selection team, from a functional perspective, is a tool for decision making in that it provides a way for an organization to render a final decision on an EHR product. It also offers an organization the ability to gather information during the requirements gathering process.
Stakeholders who are part of the selection provide an excellent source of “on the ground” information that can be used to inform the requirements gathering process and carry this information to the selection process.
As a preliminary matter, it is important to note that larger practices will need to consult a variety of stakeholders, and may have complex requirements across multiple specialties, whereas smaller practices will require a more narrow pool of individuals on their selection team. Regardless of the size and complexity of a healthcare organization bringing on the right mix of individuals to the selection team is one of the essential exercises in the entire EHR selection and implementation process.
So how does one pull together an EHR selection dream team?
Involve key stakeholders
Firstly, an organization assembling a selection team should involve key stakeholders. A key stakeholder is best described as an individual or group of individuals who possess valuable information regarding EHR-related challenges and opportunities in an organization. These stakeholders will be experts in their roles or department in your organization.
For example, billing staff will be the most reliable source of information regarding billing-related challenges and opportunities presented by an EHR or other technology in your practice. Likewise, clinicians are best equipped to speak about an EHR’s role in clinical workflows.
Find a representative sample of stakeholders
It is not only important to involve key stakeholders; it is vitally important to involve a representative sample of these key stakeholders from your organization. From an organizational standpoint, one should look at their key organizational functions, i.e. care delivery, billing, and patient outreach, among others, and make certain that individuals with knowledge in each of these areas are represented in your selection team.
By including a good representative sample of stakeholders in your organization a more robust requirements gathering and selection process will likely result.
Do not underemphasize the importance of clinician input
Numerous studies examining EHR implementation outcomes point to the importance of obtaining input from clinicians during the planning and selection process. Due to their position on the front lines of providing clinical services these, physicians, nurses, and allied health staff, are vital to a successful selection process by “providing input into the design, workflow sign-off process, and live support.”
Clinical representatives on a selection team should not only involve physicians, but also the nursing staff. Research points to examples in which involving nursing staff in the selection process has assisted in ensuring a successful selection process.
Assembling a selection dream team is an exercise worth the effort, given the benefits that can flow from including a range of stakeholders who can provide valuable and actionable information.
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