EHRs - From Pain to Gain

pain to gain HISIt is natural to feel nervous about large changes to our office environment; we like the comfort of our routines. However, if your office hasn't yet switched to electronic health records, chances are the change is coming soon. If you're feeling nervous about an upcoming EHR implementation, you're in good company. But with good planning and a little guidance, making this change can be an exciting one for your office.

Before beginning your EHR implementation, take these three important steps:

1. Assess your practice's readiness. How efficient is your practice? Does your staff frequently make mistakes with patient data? How much training is needed to make your staff computer literate? Can you put together a team that will lead the EHR implementation process? Ask these questions of yourself and your staff to get a realistic picture of how much time and effort the implementation will require.

2. Plan your approach. The best way to ensure that you're addressing the issues you found while assessing your practice is to create a road map for the EHR implementation. Find out what data from your current system will transfer directly to the EHR and chart out how you will need to enter in the data that doesn't transfer.

3 Set goals. Setting goals is a way to give your staff a common mission to work toward. Divide issues into three different areas: revenue goals, improvements to the office environment, and clinical goals. Establish goals that are attainable, give them specific due dates, and provide incentives. Watch your staff band together to conquer the challenges.

Once you've changed to the new EHR system, your practice will change as well. Whether or not this change is a positive or negative one is determined by the training and process of implementation along with selecting the right EHR system for your practice's specialty, workflow and goals.

You will find that implementing the EHR is worth dealing with change and uncertainty. EHRs benefit staff, doctors, and patients alike. An EHR provides greater data accuracy and easier access to records. Patients appreciate a practice they can trust with their information. EHRs can help boost productivity and lower supply costs as inventory can be better tracked. All of these benefits will help your practice thrive. 

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