Hospitals require Electronic Health Record (EHR) Systems that meet physicians, staff, and patients’ needs. We know doctors and staffs already have enough to worry about; an EHR doesn’t have to fit in one of them. So just to educate you, we’ve put together a very simple, common list of challenges during the EHR implementation.
The selection and installation of an electronic health record (EHR) system is a major initiative for any healthcare organization or Healthcare IT solutions, ranging from a single-clinic practice to a large community hospital. The handling of patient data sensitively and securely with as few disruptions as possible to the patient experience is critical. With such a broad-based project, there are plenty of opportunities to get something wrong.
Buying EHR software is only half of the battle. Let’s say the EHR has required features, an ideal cost, and allows for easy, efficient data flow between relevant parties. But all that perfection will be null and void if EHR Implementation Challenges is the subpar process.
9 EHR Implementation Challenges
Implementing an EHR system in healthcare can be a long and challenging process with various challenges along the way. Here are some of the most common challenges:
To avoid having the same major hurdles in their own implementation of EHR, providers should be aware of what to expect before transitioning. Here are a few major considerations to help them make their transition process smoother.
1. Lack of Communication Plan
This can be put to the side like training when the project gets busiest. A simple, effective communication strategy will provide workers with much-needed updates during the project and increase the rate of adoption for users outside the project team. End users will go one or two years without ever using the device at all. They can go almost as long without a coherent communication strategy, without ever thinking about it.
Make sure you are updating your company on what’s going right, and what’s going terribly. These updates are opportunities to keep everyone informed, showcase new functionality, and show project team members putting in tremendous extra work. In a project of this magnitude, there are countless wins along the way which should be remembered.
2. Failure to Notify Patients
Be sure to let your patients know about planned upcoming changes, and brace them for possible delays. Although your workers may have undergone excellent training, a learning curve remains to be overcome, and that takes time. Processes initially can be sluggish as the staff gets up to speed. The more you educate your patients about the process the fewer chances to get patients upset they are likely to be as you implement a new method.
3. Choosing Wrong Dropdown Menu Selection
Doctors should speed up the process of selecting dropdown choices that do not accurately represent the care provided to a specific patient. For example, when ordering a particular medical procedure a doctor can mistakenly pick the wrong gender. This is a simple error and one that the doctor can ignore as insignificant. Such an error may however later be used as evidence that the doctor did not pay attention to the care plan of the patient.
4. Inadequate Training
Training staff members on how to use the latest EHR program for your practice is a two-step fight, leaving even greater space for errors.
Proper training is the key to achieving successful implementation. Your project team will receive some sort of system training from the vendor on setup, configuration, and core modules basics, but the rest is up with the project team.
Training is usually seen as a management concern, nurses at any level of practice must speak out if they believe they have had insufficient training; they can also take their training into their own hands to ensure that they are fully comfortable and knowledgeable with the technology before using it in the patient care environment. You can also pick those workers to be qualified as super users so they can support others if they need to. Consistent training will help increase the workflow efficiencies-so make it a priority.
5. Failing to Capitalize on Available Data
With the recent change in the healthcare sector towards a Meaningful Use certified system, more critical than ever is the correct use of data. Leaving key fields off a form or failing to identify which kind of reports are most useful to end-users can sidetrack a plan for otherwise effective implementation. Accurate reporting is vital to a healthcare organization’s continued success – for both patients and providers alike. Ensuring the provider can help the project team make the most of the services that the EHR offers are a convenient way to prevent this slip-up.
6. Throwing Away the Roadmap
During the implementation of an EHR, something unpleasant happens so you decide to discard the map and fly without any navigation. Trying to find out yourself the implementation later without following instructions leads you to get lost and confused.
Avoid getting lost by asking your vendor for assistance, exactly following the instructions for implementation and resisting the temptation to take shortcuts.
7. Don’t Let Patient Feel Impersonal
We don’t think about how the technology affects one-to-one dealings (doctor-to-patient), so many times it becomes uncomfortable and impersonal, particularly when you try to insert data when talking to your patient. Proper training will help you stay out of those stressful situations.
8. Relying on Demonstrations and not Thoroughly Testing the EHR System
Potential EHR systems with practical use are important to test. To have a better understanding of how user-friendly the system is, you should have office workers, billing workers, and clinical staffs try to access the system and attempt to enter fake data. A vendor demonstration would not include a detailed evaluation of how the method operates and performs for your practice.
9. Forgetting to Consider Technical Issues
Your EHR may have several outstanding clinical features. But from an IT standpoint, it also needs to be user friendly and easy to manage. Often hospitals error not taking into account the technical dimensions of their structures. That includes everything from the ease of navigation between screens to the vendor’s frequency of updates. To avoid this issue, it is crucial to get input from both your clinical staff and IT professionals to get a complete picture of the functionality that your EHR requires.
Apart from the ones mentioned above, there are many other EHR implementation challenges that different providers may face at different stages during the implementation process.
For healthcare providers, an EHR system is not complicated. Designed to reflect the current health care landscape, these systems are now an obligation. They help providers enhance quality care and drive progress.
However, there are many barriers to the successful deployment of EHRs which can be alleviated with proper planning and strategic execution. Physicians should be aware that the EHR system will require expert know-how, and they need to hire people familiar with their current workflow.