Managing change for successful implementation of your replacement EHR
Change management is essential for the successful integration of a replacement EHR system. If you were a leader in the original implementation of EHR system into your practice, you know the time and effort that is required for this process. You already have experience planning for training, implementation and troubleshooting. This time, you will be able to build upon your experience to implement the new system even more effectively.
It is essential that all leaders have a shared vision for the practice and for the replacement EHR system. Assessment and planning are critical for change management success. You know the features that your practice needs in an EHR system and you can use your experience to keep stress and costs to a minimum.
You should make sure that the change process is methodical and well thought out. Cost is an expected and unavoidable consequence of change. Change will cost your practice time, money, and many other resources. You should have scheduled time for complete and thorough training for all staff. You must ensure that the staff adhere to the changes and create user buy-in by explaining how the new system will address their current EHR complaints. Keeping the staff involved by addressing their problem list will improve user buy in and reduce complaints.
The change leader must portray the following objectives for the transition:
- Efficiency: The transition period must be done in an efficient manner, readily providing information from the legacy system to the new system. If data is transferred efficiently, there will be less of a negative impact on clinician workflows.
- Consistency: The converted clinical data, system features and communication features must be functionally equivalent (or better) than the old system. Show your staff the old functionality and display the new way it will be done. A side by side comparison of a few problem areas will ease some hesitation. There should be no area of the system that is lacking. There should also be consistency in the implementation and expectations for all users with a well-planned Go-Live date.
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- Accuracy: During data migration to the new system, topmost attention must be placed in inputting accurate patient information. Accuracy should be prioritized over speed and completeness in data migration. Inaccurate information will definitely cause clinician frustration and can even implicate the safety and quality of patient care.
- Privacy: Converted clinical information must follow all legal and ethical guidelines for patient privacy. Protected health information must be kept confidential during the migration from the old system to the new system.
By keeping your administrative, clinical, and operational staff abreast to these objectives, you will ease some anxiety regarding the transition. Acknowledge that no system is perfect and that you are working diligently to implement a system that will best serve the practice as a whole. Above all, it is vital that the change management team remain positive and enthusiastic about the transition.
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