Steps to take before implementing EHRs

If you’re deciding whether or not to implement electronic health records into your practice, consider the following:

“When [EHRs] are well-designed and implemented correctly, they can be a powerful force for reducing errors, lowering costs, raising quality of care, and increasing doctor and patient satisfaction,” according to Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of health and human services of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. She shared this view at the HIMSS meeting to promote the usefulness of electronic health records and the advancements in health information technology.

Organization is key
If you’ve made the decision to implement the electronic health records, it’s crucial to pay attention to the steps you take before pushing the technology live. Organization is crucial when implementing EHRs, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

“The difference between an efficient, harmonious, computerized office and computerized chaos is all about implementation,” said the source.

Office characteristics lead to success
The first step to implementing EHRs successfully is to assess your current practice and make sure the characteristics of the workplace exude a positive and professional state of being.
According to HealthIT, you should ask the following questions in regard to your current practice:

  • Are the administrative processes well organized and documented?
  • Is the workflow efficient?
  • Are the reporting processes well documented?

AAFP said medical offices should execute:

  • Excellent teamwork and communication skills
  • A constant drive for improvement
  • The ability to handle challenges and solve problems
  • A team that shows willingness to step outside of their job description in case something goes wrong.

How do you see the future?
Now that you’re aware of how your medical office should be kept and how the team should handle the workplace throughout the implementation, Health IT said it’s important to plan for the future ahead. Envision what you would like to see happen differently with patients, providers and staff during EHR use.

Set a list of goals
Make a list of goals you’d like to reach throughout the decision making process of implementing EHRs. The source recommends following the “SMART” goals process:

  • Specific – Set and attain a goal that would make a difference in the life of the patient and practice.
  • Measurable – Evaluate the current level to reach the target goal.
  • Attainable – Believe that you can achieve the goal.
  • Relevant – The goal is worth the work that’s being put into it because it matters.
  • Time bound – Meet your deadlines and celebrate your goal’s success.

Once you’ve taken the necessary steps before implementing EHRs, you’ll have a successful team and an equal vision willing to reach realistic goals.

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