Healthcare News & Insights

Beware of ‘overnight’ EHR implementations

When healthcare organizations install an electronic health record (EHR) system, many try to get the system up and running as quickly as possible so they can start reaping the benefits.

But that’s a strategy organizations should avoid, said Ron Anderson, director of business development at CHMB Solutions, in a presentation at the recent Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) 2011 Annual Congress.

EHR systems should be rolled out in phases, Anderson said, so providers can make sure all kinks are worked out and all staff members are adequately trained before there is too much for the organization to handle at once.

He recommended a four-stage process for EHR implementations:

  1. Practice management — first have a practice management system installed for front office staff
  2. EHR phase 1 — Begin installing EHR functions for front and back office staff
  3. EHR phase 2 — Roll out features for all other staff and providers
  4. EHR phase 3 — Get the EHR system up and running for providers at point of care

Anderson also emphasized that organizations must make sure they allocate enough time to properly train all doctors and staff members — something many organizations have failed to do. He cited MGMA research that found 40% of EHR users felt they had not allowed enough time for training.

Training is an especially important part of the EHR implementation process, because research says the amount of training doctors receive has a big impact on how satisfied they are with the systems and how well they use functions that are critical for meeting Meaningful Use requirements.

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