Creating a leadership team for successful EHR implementation

The EHR leadership team, also known as the project team, serves an important role in deciding the success or failure of an EHR project. Without a strong leadership team, an EHR project will have a greater risk of failure given the highly technical nature of implementing an EHR system

Given its importance in implementation, it’s important to examine the role a leadership team occupies in the implementation itself. The leadership team are tasked with both supplying the initiative to get a project off the ground, moving it along through implementation and then ultimately making certain that the go-live goal is successfully met. However, a leadership team must have the right members and display the right competencies to be successful. 

Team members

The composition of the leadership team should reflect the key stakeholder groups in your organization. In effect, one should view the leadership team as a representative sample of the key parts of your organization. In addition to representative members from across your organization, the leadership team should also have individuals tasked with specific duties. 

Among the groups represented on the leadership team, it is vital to represent members of your clinical staff. Including a contingent of clinical staff on a leadership team supplies valuable insight from those who can offer a hands-on perspective to workflow and design.

The following are not an exhaustive list, but should be viewed as a starting point in leadership team selection: 

  1. Clinical champion: an individual tasked with the responsibility for acting as a leader who can communicate EHR goals to clinical staff, but also act as a vehicle to collect information regarding system design. 
  2. EHR project manager: an individual who will coordinate the technical aspects of the project including acting as a liaison with the vendor to ensure project tasks are completed on time. The project manager serves as the quarterback of the EHR implementation team. This person should be technically minded and have previous experience in implementing EHR.
  3. Selection team members: individuals who are responsible for identifying and prioritizing system requirements and evaluating vendor products. 
  4. Lead decision-maker: a person who has the responsibility to make final decisions. 

Leadership team competencies

The leadership team should be competent in a vast scope of competencies. Foremost among these competencies is the ability to work in an interdisciplinary setting. As the leadership team should reflect a diverse array of backgrounds and expertise it is important to be able to synthesize differing and competing priorities and align them with the overall project goal. 

The leadership team should be able to clearly define the work, project timeline, and deliverables. Further, the leadership team should understand the importance of flexibility and creative decision making particularly if the project does not go according to plan. 

In addition to the competencies referenced above the members of an EHR leadership team should be willing and able to devote sufficient time for leadership team duties including meetings and information gathering.

The time needed to construct a well-planned and competent leadership team can pay massive dividends in the future. Accordingly, practices of all sizes and disciplines should view the leadership team as a prerequisite for EHR implementation success.

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Jeff Green

About the author…

Jeff Green, MPH, JD works as a freelance writer and consultant in the Healthcare information Technology Space.

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Jeff Green

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