Computer programs, hardware, and the internet have brought big changes to just about every industry imaginable. Though it has only recently become popular, electronic health records (EHR) software is already allowing hospitals, clinics, and private practices to step up their productivity and improve patient care. However, unlike typical computer programs, EHR software services replace much of what employees do and are therefore inherently difficult to implement. The following is a guide to successful EHR implementation.
Assess Your Practice's Needs
Identify the things about your practice you would like to change and list them from the most critical item to those of least concern. This list will help guide your EHR shopping process.
Select a Service Provider
As you shop, you will identify several features that will be helpful for your particular practice. There are also features that will likely be beneficial regardless of unique needs of your practice. One of the most important factors in choosing an EHR service is if the program is cloud-based as opposed to installing it on each computer.
In the event of a hard-drive crash, any information saved on that computer within a locally installed program will be lost. With a cloud-based program, all data is safe from a crash, and time wasted making duplicate entries is virtually eliminated, and the programs will be updated with little or no action on your part.
Plan to Acquire New Equipment
Each exam room and work desk should have its own workstation where the EHR software can be fully and reliably accessed. Some practices purchase a laptop computer for each staff member while other practices might favor a fixed desktop computer. Whichever solution you choose, staff members should have full access to the service while still being able to fully interact with patients.
Complete Chart Migration
Without chart migration, you and your staff would have to spend countless hours entering data from paper charts into their new digital form. Fortunately, you can get a head-start on this work by gradually filling out patients' information through your service provider's website.
After Launching, Don't Look Back
The days after launching your EHR program can be slow and frustrating, and several staff members may want to revert to paper. Reassure them that even though the new program needs getting used to, it will soon make for a much more efficient work cycle and better patient care.
Because EHR consolidates so many tasks of your practice, there are several things that could go wrong if you implement the program poorly. Though there will inevitably be a learning curve for you and your staff, following the steps described above will make the transition much smoother.