Six best practices for EHR implementation

By Jamie Thompson
02:00 PM

Peggy E. Delany, MBA, CHBC, CEO, DR Management, LLC, Member of the National Society of Certified Healthcare Business Consultants (NSCHBC), and Thomas S. Nelson, CIO, COO, DR Management, LLC, shared the following six best practices for hospitals and medical groups when implementing electronic health records.

1. Tailor your EHR to fit within staff workflows
"You cannot implement the system to meet 100% of each individual’s needs, but neither can you implement in a generic manner and assume that everyone will adjust," Delany and Nelson emphasized. But it is important to determine which aspects can be adapted to work on an individual basis, and which aspects can work across a wider spectrum. Securing the opinions and recommendations of the staff - as well as their cooperation and commitment - are crucial to making sure the EHR will work for everyone.

2. Identify ways the EHR could potentially fail in order to prevent problems in the future
Gather input from stakeholders to pinpoint ways the EHR could fail, and use that knowledge to determine what it will take for the EHR to be successful. "Remember that you are dealing with huge amounts of data. Be sure to allow for enough storage and fast enough computers to quickly access the data," said Delany and Nelson.

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3. Don’t rush implementation, take time to train
"Train for every step of the process and do several short training sessions," advised Delany and Nelson. They also stressed that beginning with the basics is important, and to follow a planned-out procedure so as to ensure the accuracy and efficiency of implementation.

4. In EHR implementation, practices are not extensions of the hospital
Practices and hospitals have very different requirements for EHRs. Delany and Nelson noted that “processes that bring success to hospitals might very well create failure in medical practices.”

5. Eliminate duplication

Redundant data entry must be minimized. “Patient demographics, as an example, need to be input at whatever point the patient enters the system, but those demographics need to be available throughout all modules and interfaces,” said Delany and Nelson.

6. Work with experts who have EHR implementation experience

Get assistance from someone who has experience in successfully implementing EHR systems. Someone who "intimately knows the basic workflow of a practice or hospital, and is knowledgeable in the details of the EHR... can make the difference in success or failure," Delany and Nelson concluded.

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