The investment of time and money into an Electronic Health Record (EHR) platform is significant, and there are a number of things you should take into consideration when thinking about making the switch.
Here are four steps to make your transition easier for everyone involved:
1. Get Organizational Commitment to Switching Your EHR Vendor
As you start to think about switching EHR providers, assign an internal team who can work together to make high-level project related decisions, define system and user requirements, and own the success of the project. The dedicated team should champion the project, define user and system requirements, establish the budget and implement best practices.
The roles for your project team should include:
Project Sponsor: This person is responsible for action as the champion of the project, and help build excitement, communicate the reason for the change, and promote the EHR project throughout your organization.
Project Manager: The Project Manager will develop the overall project plan with your vendor’s project manager. They will also communicate plans for the EHR implementation, coordinating IT related tasks, and work with the internal EHR team to develop the implementation approach. The Project Manager will manage the EHR and third-party vendors, acting as the liaison between the organization and vendors.
Clinical and Financial Leads: Clinical and financial leads are responsible for managing tasks associated with planning, defining user requirements and set up for each of their areas. These roles should be filled by people with enough experience to understand workflow issues and have the authority to make decisions during the implementation of the system.
IT Lead: The IT Lead will handle all IT project related tasks, define system requirements, upgrades, deployment and testing.
2. Agree on Project Scope, Planning, and Communication Strategy
As you begin to research a new EHR vendor, it’s important to have a consensus on several issues before choosing your new provider. You should confirm the organization EHR Project Team, define and communicate the roles and responsibilities for team members, and develop a communications plan to promote open communication among team members about the project.
During the second step in this process, you should also develop and confirm the project timeline, budget, and the EHR project plan. It is critical to assess and plan how you will import data from your existing system before selecting your new provider.
3. Create an Implementation and Rollout Strategy
Now that you have agreed on the scope, plan, and communications strategy, it’s time to think about how you will implement your new EHR platform. You should keep this top of mind as you research vendors. Your new EHR partner should assist in ensuring a smooth implementation of your new platform.
As you work with your project team to plan for the transition, remember to set realistic goals and expectations based on the resources available. Your new EHR vendor should understand your unique needs and help you plan and prepare for this significant change to your organization.
4. Get Your House in Order
Before you select a new EHR partner, it’s imperative that you assess your existing workflow, processes, and IT infrastructure as they relate to the solutions and products being offered. This will allow you to choose a partner that can meet your existing and future needs. The first step is to review existing clinical and financial processes to determine whether your workflow will change. After assessing your current workflow you will need to:
- Create a team and plan for the implementation and test
- Complete the necessary IT infrastructure related assessments
- Develop or modify all procedures and documentation related to Business Continuity, IT, Security, Clinical and Financial Operations
Choosing the right EHR partner is critical for business and shouldn’t be taken lightly. A true partner will help you identify your current gaps, plan for the future, and find ways to help your team adapt to the change.