EHR software brings a great degree of change to all healthcare organizations. With multiple layers of functionality operating harmoniously in order to deliver healthcare records to hospitals, providers and patients, EHR systems are complex so it is important to recognize early in your EHR selection process what can derail your EHR implementation.
EHR vendors, just like any other software vendor, promote their strengths and will consume potential clients with the “sex and sizzle” of their respective systems. However, the success of any EHR implementation will depend on the acceptance of the EHR system and its usability among end-users. To promote the acceptance of an EHR system organizations should ensure that the three deadly EHR failure points are correctly addressed prior to, and during, implementation. Lack of functionality, slow performance and missing data are often considered unforgiveable sins within EHR system implementations. Isolated or in conjunction with each other, the deadly EHR sins can affect not only the local system but any other EHR calling on information from it.
1. Lack of functionality – Your organization’s EHR implementation should begin with defining requirements for your EHR system. If a system lacks functionality, end-users will revert back to familiar, manual processes.
2. Slow performance – Since organizations can connect their EHR system to other local, regional and national healthcare record exchanges, the system’s performance is often dependent upon the other third party systems involved in the exchange. Slow performance may not be due to your local system but one of the many interconnected systems. Thus, the ongoing monitoring of system functionality and performance is critical to the success of any EHR implementation.
3. Missing data –The core purpose of EHR systems is to quickly bring information to the end-user. If the information or data is not available then why would anyone use EHR software?
How do you determine whether your EHR implementation is currently conquering the three deadly EHR sins? Setting metrics and continually measuring system performance is key but beyond performance measures, look for softer signs that are not found within the system. The key to success with any system is the people using it and with EHR systems is it no different. Actively look for signs that may show the system lacks functionality, performance or the data needed to manage daily business processes. Signs typically include stalled or incomplete business processes, manual workarounds and slower than normal response times.
The key to success is to truly understand your organization’s EHR needs. Once you determine your needs, you should determine how you are going to fulfill these needs; what degree of third party connectivity you need and how you will actively manage the performance of not only your local system but connected third parties.
When organizations spend the necessary time to plan and execute data migration, define requirements and actively manage end-users, they will continually improve their EHR’s capabilities and avoid the three deadly sins of EHR implementations.
Written by Tyler Wilson, Manager of Client Services at Panorama Consulting Solutions.