The success of an IT endeavor hinders greatly on the make-up of the project management team, as well as how the task is planned and carried out.
In the last few years, hospitals, physician practices and other medical facilities have adopted electronic health record software in record numbers. Many of these organizations have struggled with the implementation process, and some continue to face ongoing difficulties with the daily use of their EHRs. According to a report about healthcare IT insights from nonprofit trade association CompTIA, this is due to the fact that few physicians truly understand what implementing an EHR entails; and many implementations are carried out haphazardly.
With the following useful tips, healthcare organizations can ensure successful EHR implementations and a seamless transition from paper charts to EHR:
1. Appoint a responsible project manager. Your project manager doesn’t necessarily have to be an implementation expert. After all, your software vendor will handle most aspects of installation and initial setup. They do, however, need to be organized and responsible, trustworthy, and capable of communicating effectively with the EHR vendor and the rest of the implementation team. The project manager will serve as a liaison between your organization and the software vendor; and they will be responsible for making sure that certain tasks get done.
2. Outline important tasks and set deadlines for each one. Implementing an EHR will require making several changes; but it can be overwhelming for doctors and staff if they are all carried out at the same time. In order to maintain productivity and prevent frustrations, work with your implementation manager and at least one employee from each department to come up with a list of important tasks. Decide which tasks are more of a priority (i.e. scanning paper records into the EHR), and establish a deadline for when each one should be completed.
3. Hold weekly meetings to go over progress made. Once deadlines are established, make time each week to meet with the project manager and important team members about the progress being made on tasks that have approaching deadlines. If team members are having problems accomplishing certain goals, assign someone to help them.
4. Celebrate accomplishments. Implementing an EHR can be as frustrating for staff as it is for doctors and administrators. Therefore, it can be important for morale to celebrate big achievements. For example, buying cake and ice cream to celebrate your “go live” date is a great way to reward employees for their patience and hard work.