Healthcare News & Insights

Nurses demand hospital halt EHR implementation

It’s critical to get clinicians on board when adopting a new health IT system. At one hospital, nurses are rebelling against the organization’s plan for deploying EHRs and are demanding the implementation be delayed. 

FemaleDoctorWhen selecting and installing an EHR system, it’s important to get input from all groups that will have to use the software — that includes doctors, as well as nurses, administrative employees and others.

Otherwise, the hospital may end up with a system that doesn’t meet everyone’s needs, and the organization might not be getting the most out of its investments in health IT.

Or, even worse, some groups may openly refuse to use the chosen EHR system. That’s what’s been happening at Affinity Medical Center in Massillon, OH, where the hospital’s nurses have demanded that a planned EHR rollout be delayed.

The nurses sent a letter to the hospital detailing their concerns:

Insufficient training

Just before the system was supposed to go live, many of the nurses say they had received only one day of training, which is much less than what experts recommend for effective EHR training.

In addition, some nurses were designated as “super users” who would help offer education and support to others, but they claim they received no more training than anyone else.

Inadequate staffing

The nurses claim several units will be understaffed at the time the EHR system is scheduled to be deployed — even though many experts recommend hospitals increase staffing levels at first when they adopt electronic records.

Making things more difficult, the nurses say, the system will go live across the entire organization at the same time. Many hospitals have had more luck with a gradual rollout.

Bad system selection

The letter also complains that the chosen system lacks key features necessary for the nurses’ work. For example, the system may violate the Ohio Nursing Practice Act because it didn’t allow nurses to communicate individualized information about patients.

Overall, they say the system is cumbersome, difficult to use and frequently fails — and that nurses weren’t consulted when the software was chosen.

The lesson for hospitals: It’s critical to get feedback from nurses and others, starting at the very beginning of the EHR planning process. In addition to getting their help choosing software, it helps to survey clinicians about other areas — such as what kind of training they need.

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