Five signs your EHR selection project has been a huge success
Measuring success in the context of EHR selection may seem intuitive.
For example, most individuals can tell if something is working or not. However, when selecting an EHR, measuring success in an objective and meaningful way can be difficult for many reasons.
Defining “success” as an objective and measurable goal can be difficult in that success can be measured on several dimensions, however not all measures of success will apply to a practice setting. Therefore, it is important to set benchmarks for success in areas that are meaningful to your practice.
These may be clinical goals, revenue goals, or organizational goals. Regardless of the benchmark that is selected it is important to bear in mind that the benchmark for success is something that is an indicator of the goal you are trying to reach and that the benchmark for success your practice has set is something that can be objectively measured.
The Healthit.gov website provides a useful guide for setting up benchmark for success using what is referred to as the “SMART” goals process. This process includes setting aims and goals that meet the following criteria:
Specific – Achieving the goal would make a difference for our patients and our practice
Measurable – We can quantify the current level and the target goal
Attainable – Although the goal may be a stretch, we can achieve it
Relevant – This is worth the effort
Time bound – There are deadlines and opportunities to celebrate success!
Using the guidelines presented above a practice can rely on the following five signs that an EHR project has been a success. The following list is not exhaustive, as success can be measured by any number of metrics tailored to a practice’s particular circumstances. However, the following benchmarks for a successful EHR offer a useful starting point.
1. Patient engagement
Patients who can engage with clinical staff and access their own health information display better outcomes on a range of health metrics. Patient engagement can be measured easily by tracking how many contacts a patient makes with clinicians and whether the patient portal on an EHR is being used to access clinical records.
2. Wait times
Long wait times can be indicative of workflow problems whereby administrative and clinical staff experience difficulty in processing patients in a timely fashion. Wait time can be objectively measured and weighted according to peak times for patient traffic.
3. Population health engagement
With the emphasis on value-based reimbursement, providers should be mindful of the importance of the overall health of their patient populations. A successful EHR
selection can be measured in light of how well it can engage patients with preventative health interventions and improvements on basic health indicators.
4. Care coordination
The ability to share records electronically and coordinate care in a seamless fashion factors heavily in the future of healthcare. As such, a benchmark for success can be found in the percentage of patients whose clinical information is shared electronically across care settings
A financial measure of success, an EHR ROI calculation can provide an overall benchmark for how successful an EHR selection project has been. ROI measures the financial return on investment relative to the investment’s cost.
By setting objective and measurable benchmarks for success a practice can effectively track its progress as to whether an EHR selection has been successful and, if not, the deficiencies that can be corrected in the future.
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