The smoothest EHR implementations minimize disruptions to workflow and maximize efficiency and patient care quality. Our resident EHR/workflow consultative specialists have helped implement EHRs for medical practices of varying sizes and specialties across the country. These are the best practices that consistently drive a successful EHR launch:
Obtain Provider Buy-In
Changing EHRs means embracing change, and change is hard. We encourage practices to identify who the super users of their system will be (providers and administrative staff) and educate them on why you are making the change. Often, new EHRs are implemented to help improve the quality of patient care or to help providers and staff be more effective and efficient. Sharing the positive impact the new EHR will have on your providers, staff, and patients motivates your team to embrace change and advocate for the new EHR among their fellow providers and staff.
Provide Ample Training
The benefits of your new EHR will not be realized if the physicians, nurses, and other staff who will use the software are not trained on best practices for use. Ample, high-quality training is a crucial implementation best practice. We advise that training be provided by a certified Super User or reseller/consultant. There should be detailed training plans for all administrative staff and providers, including 1:1 training with super users. There is always a learning curve with a new system, but investing in formal training for everyone who will use the system, from billers and admins to executives and staff physicians drastically lessens the learning curve.
Give Providers and Staff Time to Adjust
All users should have the opportunity to train/practice in the new system before they start actively using it with a full patient schedule. Allowing providers and staff time to work in the system outside of real-time patient visits makes a big difference in user comfort level. We suggest starting with a limited number of patients for a short period and then fairly quickly graduating to full time patient schedules as users adjust to the new EHR.
Carefully Consider Workflows
One key opportunity when implementing a new system is the opportunity to tweak workflows to better serve your providers, staff, and patients. As part of EHR implementation, we suggest your administrative team or internal implementation committee carefully consider existing documentation, coding, and patient engagement workflows and evaluate opportunities within the new EHR to streamline them. It’s often more difficult to make major workflow changes after the implementation phase, so EHR implementation is a prime time to define and optimize workflows.
After initial implementation, we also suggest scheduling a meeting with all stakeholders a few months after a new EHR has gone live. At this time, users have had the opportunity to use the system day-to-day and can flag any workflows that have knots in them and/or share ideas to improve EHR use. Additionally, we always schedule an optimization training one month after implementation to introduce users to key reporting functionality and other financial details after they are more comfortable with the system.
EHR implementation is a prime time to optimize workflows to maximize patient care quality, improve cash flow, and save provider and staff time. Obtaining provider buy-in, providing ample training, giving providers and staff time to adjust, and carefully considering the workflows you implement in the new system are all key best practices to make the transition from old EHR to new, as seamless as possible.