Implementing a new EHR is a huge undertaking with significant financial impacts. Healthcare organizations are spending millions of dollars to purchase an EHR system that will streamline patient care, improve paper-based documentation processes, and facilitate quality improvement efforts. Hospitals have invested a significant amount of time into researching software companies, comparing prices, evaluating key features and functionality, negotiating costs with vendors and insurance companies, etc.
Given the significant financial and time investments, it is important to ensure that your EHR investment is maximized. This blog post will discuss how hospital leaders can maximize their EHR investment initiatives:
Engage physicians, staff, and end-users in the vision for the digital future so that they all feel connected to it. You want everyone from the frontline staff to the bedside nurses, doctors, and physicians to be invested in the vision of a digital future for your organization. You can achieve this by communicating with physicians, end-users, and staff about the EHR implementation. Make sure you let them know why you are implementing an EHR system. Give them all ample opportunities to understand the vision of a digital future for your organization and where the EHR system fits within that vision. Ensure they know the benefits of a better user interface, mobile access to patient data from anywhere at any time, and streamlining clinical documentation processes so that they are more efficient. The digital future includes:
The second step is to streamline clinical documentation and workflow as much as possible. The EHR implementation should include workflow processes that will ensure that physicians are not duplicating work or spending more time documenting than providing care to patients. The EHR system should be streamlined so that physicians can easily access the information they need to provide care and write notes. This will improve physician productivity, reduce physician burnout, and improve clinical documentation accuracy—all of which are critical factors in ensuring you have a healthy workforce.
This will help users become more familiar with the functionalities and features of the EHR system, and it will ensure that users utilize the software efficiently. Training should be provided to physicians and staff on how to effectively use the system so that there are no gaps in functionality or features. Training should also focus on workflow processes and best practices when using the EHR system. A few ideas on what user training sessions should cover include:
You want a vendor that will be responsive to your needs as they change over time. This could include enhancements of the core system, additional modules, and the ability to integrate with other applications. Hospitals are moving toward a digital future, and EHR vendors will need to be flexible as healthcare organizations implement new technologies that enhance the patient care experience.
You want to make sure you are communicating with your vendor representative about all of the changes that you want to be made to the EHR system, such as:
If you are only going to be managing a relatively small number of patients on an outpatient basis, then a system that supports the creation and management of patient records will suffice.
Do you want to grow the number of patients that you are treating? Are there plans to expand your facility and add new services and departments? Will the workflow processes change? You must consider all of these factors when choosing an EHR system so that the processes you create are scalable.
Choosing the right EHR system for your organization is important and will help you provide better care to patients. It may seem like a daunting task, but if you think about how your company's future will look down the road 3-5 years from now, it'll be easier to determine which vendor would best suit your needs. If all of this sounds overwhelming or confusing because you don't know where to start, our team of healthcare experts is here to offer guidance on what questions should go into making an informed decision when choosing between vendors. Our goal is not just to get hospitals up and running with their new systems—we want them investing in something that they can grow with over time as well! Let us know if we can answer any other questions.
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