The top three EHR implementation challenges faced by practices
Implementing an EHR system, whether it be from paper charting or another EHR system, comes with expected challenges for medical practices. Here are three of the most common EHR implementation issues, along with strategies on how to avoid and overcome them.
1. Staff resistance
People generally have a difficult time with accepting change, especially within the work environment. Likely, there will be resistance to this change from the clinical and support staff all the way up to the board members and stakeholders. It is essential that the EHR implementation process is delivered with a promotion and marketing plan to champion the change.
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You need to build acceptance and positivity around the change across the entire body of staff. This is done with slow and steady implementation and a comprehensive training plan. Ensure your practice staff that their work can still be done in the same amount of time or even faster using the new system. The staff needs to understand that the change will bring about a better business model and improved job satisfaction.
2. Lost productivity and lack of full implementation
When implementing a new EHR system, anticipate a reduction in staff productivity, number of patients seen, and workflow efficiency and communicate this to your practice staff. Additionally, administration should prepare for potential overtime pay and the need for additional support.
Consider hiring a healthcare consultant or see if your vendor offers go-live support during the implementation process. Hire temporary staff to perform more mundane work duties.
Unfortunately, even if a practice has ‘implemented’ a new EHR system, staff members can find ways to continue to use old systems or avoid using the EHR system effectively. This can include writing down patient information and data instead of logging their notes into the system, creating double work and increased time in the end.
This is especially concerning when, according to the latest EHR research, practices' main motivation to implementing a system is to increase efficiency. This project objective will never be achieved if staff members find workarounds to avoid using the current system.
EHR programs are intended to streamline basic operations and communications, but if staff are continuing to utilize their old ways, then this cannot be accomplished. It is therefore essential that everyone receives ample training before full EHR implementation. Additionally, they should be shown how the new system makes their job of documentation, faster and easier, and improves patient care.
3. Data migration
Migrating existing data to a new EHR is time-consuming and tedious. Additionally, it contains private and sensitive information that needs to be migrated accurately to ensure continued patient care. Records will need to be prioritized to determine how far back data should be migrated. Start with the most recent files and work your way backwards, so that the most recent information is available in the EHR system.
Another suggestion is to assign a point person to be responsible for uploading all new information that is faxed or delivered via paper. This information should be stored in the new system promptly to make using the new EHR system easier for everyone.
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