Three EHR project milestones to track in your timeline

Given the number of variables that can either increase or decrease the time needed for an EHR implementation, the typical time needed for EHR implementation varies according to setting and by-product. As such, one cannot easily find a standard timeline for EHR implementation.

However, selecting milestones provides a way all practices can gauge the progress of an EHR project. Before discussing what should be considered necessary EHR milestones, one should consider in an EHR project timeline; it is important to consider the topic of defining milestones and how one measures their attainment.

An EHR project milestone should contain milestones that can be defined in a way that allows for progress toward them to be objectively measured. As such a milestone should have a clear definition that all stakeholders can understand and an agreed upon and generally accepted method of measuring progress toward achieving the milestone.

A second consideration that an implementation team should consider rests in the types of milestones that should be included in a timeline. Milestones can include planning milestones related to selecting or implementing the system or implementation milestones. Further, milestones may also include post-implementation goals such as the user or patient engagement, productivity, or proficiency. The following are three EHR project milestones to track in your timeline.

Goal setting

Goal setting is a significant part of an EHR project and can be considered an important milestone in a project as it represents an important part of the planning process. The assessment should look at the current state of the practice and consider what are the specific and measurable goals related to implementing the EHR system and identify any barriers to meeting these goals.

For example, will the implementation not result in lost productivity over a certain specific level or disruptions or downtime will not exceed “X hours.”


In the process of selection, albeit early in the process, the evidence does indicate that on average, practices spend 16 weeks selecting an EHR. Given the importance of the task at hand and the time it takes to accomplish selection represents an important milestone in the process of adopting an EHR.


The planning phase should focus on mapping out how work currently gets done. With this information, it is important to consider how to minimize productivity loss during the implementation phase as disruptions are caused to the normal workflow as the new EHR system is put in place and stakeholders become accustomed to the new system.

During the planning stage, some organizations elect to rely heavily on an implementation team representing various stakeholders in an organization that provides “on-the-ground information” regarding workflows and how the implementation will affect them.

Ultimately, an implementation plan will seek to get an EHR system in place with minimal disruption and lost productivity. How it accomplishes this goal remains contingent on the unique circumstances found in an organization. How long it takes depends on the size of an organization and the type of EHR system being put in place. However, by setting objectives and measurable milestones, a practice can better gauge its progress.

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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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