New industry report encourages providers to prepare for EHR replacement

Industry report highlights importance of preparing for EHR replacement

Industry report highlights importance of preparing for EHR replacement

A large number of physicians have started to replace their older health IT systems with new electronic health records. This is due to the upcoming ICD-10 deadline and the approaching stage 3 meaningful use standards, which require a modernized, efficient system. Health professionals and their staffs should be prepared for the transition to a new system and processes.



5 key elements for successful EHR replacement 
KLAS, an industry research company, recently issued a report entitled Implementation Potholes 2015: How to Smooth Out the Ride that points to 10 best practices that will assist practices during the switch to improved EHR systems. The company identified and examined the potential setbacks that providers could face while replacing their health IT followed by strategies to ensure that they are prepared for them. Here are a few of the points:

1. Get middle management involved
Middle management should be included in the adoption of the new system and the processes involved, as they are often the people responsible for developing the old workflows and procedures being replaced. Having them on board will make for a steady recovery if an aspect of the implementation process ends up falling apart. They have a good understanding of the old processes, which may enable them to help providers and staff develop a firmer understanding of what went wrong.

2. Prepare the workforce for reform
EHR systems have the ability to impact the efficiency with which providers and their staff members perform daily processes and streamline workflows. However, it is up to the health professionals to change the general attitude of their workforce. The KLAS report emphasized the importance of focusing on getting staff ready for health care reform. This is key to a smooth EHR implementation experience. If staff members are not prepared – both mentally and through physical EHR training – for the adoption of an improved system, the introduction of innovative health IT will likely prove ineffective and may even set practices back because the workforce will not have the mindset to handle the change and reform.

3. Be clear about your implementation timeline
According to the report, one of the most essential factors to preventing setbacks during EHR replacement is setting specific deadlines for each aspect of the project and sticking with them. If providers need assistance with creating an effective timeline, their vendors may be able to help. However, when flexibility is required to ensure that the workforce and the new system are ready before going live, physicians should not hesitate to push deadlines back. It is also essential to consider how the general functions of the practice will be impacted by these timelines and to plan accordingly.

4. Take into account past success and failures
When creating timelines and preparing staff, it is important to remember past situations in which the organization succeeded and failed. This will help providers establish accurate and realistic expectations and develop goals that are effective and achievable during the implementation of the new EHR system. As preparing for potential errors is just as essential as setting goals to reach, looking to past failures will help foresee mistakes that lie on the horizon before they happen.

5. Have organization leaders participate
The leaders of health care organizations should be as involved in the implementation process as possible. The adoption process and staff training would benefit from the involvement of the executive team because reforming the health care establishment from the top down will show that the change is crucial and impacts the entire organization. Having the CEO and CFO, for example, participating in the testing and training processes will ensure success.