Mapping EHR Implementation Timeline for Healthcare Facilities

Key Takeaways

  • Higher authorities like CMOs and the management team need to communicate with the rest of the hospital staff about the EHR implementation and the change it is going to bring with it.
  • Consider evaluating whether the EHR workflow gives value to patients and does it require additional skill or training. Fill the gaps and inefficiencies to create a better workflow.
  • Before migrating data to the new EHR software, eliminate all duplicate data from the old EHR system. This step prevents confusion and errors among physicians.

Once you’ve decided to bring in a new EHR system, it’s important to understand how long will it take to implement it. Ideally, the EHR implementation timeline depends on the type of software and how large a healthcare organization is. The bigger a facility, the longer it will take to implement EHR software. So, the EHR implementation timeline is subjective to healthcare facilities.

Additionally, the timeline also depends on which new features are expected by the physicians and patients; it may take time to create additional features. Below is a template of the EHR implementation timeline that every healthcare facility can consider before going forward with the EHR installation process.

Template of EHR Implementation Timeline

9 to 12 Months Before the Launch

  • Onboard Medical Staff: Higher authorities like CMOs and the management team need to communicate with the rest of the hospital staff about the EHR implementation and the change it’s going to bring with it. Lay down your vision statement and goals behind EHR adoption. State the reason for it and how it can positively impact the facility. Explain the new features and how different they will be from the current EHR system. Make sure to involve the staff in the EHR implementation process to prevent any setbacks, errors, and hindrances. Chances are the hospital or clinic staff may not fully understand their role during the implementation process, so ensure that they understand it.
  • Prepare a Checklist of What’s Needed: Prepare a checklist of all the software and hardware requirements to install EHR software. These can include on-site or cloud-based modes of deployment, front-end and back-end requirements, compliance requirements, etc.
  • Prepare a Project Plan: Prepare a roadmap on how to get things done swiftly and effectively. Schedule EHR launch and plan accordingly. Make sure to include aspects like budget, staff training, testing new EHR, data migration, and security while preparing the project plan.

6 to 9 Months Before the Launch

  • Select EHR Vendor: Healthcare facilities willing to upgrade or change their EHR system, should look for an expert EHR software development company who’ll help with the EHR installation process. Find a vendor who knows all the ins and outs of electronic health records, along with the healthcare regulations. Ensure that the EHR vendor is willing to provide maintenance and support after the implementation process.
  • Optimize Workflows: Understand the current workflow of the healthcare facility and then jot down the desired workflow obtained via new EHR software. Consider evaluating whether the workflow gives value to patients and does it require additional skill or training. Fill the gaps and inefficiencies to create a better workflow.
  • Prepare and Review EHR Contract: This covers the budget, time needed to complete EHR implementation, hidden costs if any, and other agreements between the stakeholders. Ensure to check it before proceeding with the implementation.

3 to 6 Months Before the Launch

  • Select EHR Functions to Implement: EHR software comes with a range of functions such as data storage and transfer, patient documentation, appointment scheduling, billing, and more. Select the functions that will help you to increase the efficiency of the healthcare facility.
  • Conduct Staff Training: With every 4 out of 5 physicians getting EHR certification, it is necessary to offer adequate training to them and the rest of the healthcare facility staff. This is a key step in the EHR implementation timeline as it ensures that all medical staff has an understanding of the new EHR system. Staff is trained according to their roles and responsibilities, rather than burdening them with all the functions. Also, a training manual provided by the vendors helps to run the EHR system better.
  • Install Hardware: Finish installing hardware such as computer systems and physical storage facilities, and then prepare for the software implementation.
  • Prepare for EHR Data Migration: Before data migration remove all duplicate data from the EHR system, and then move it to the new one. Transfer critical data first, followed by the relevant ones, and then start moving backward. Once completed, test the new EHR system for missing data, errors, and duplication.

1 to 4 Months Before the Launch

  • Work on Building Software Interfaces: Design the look and the feel of the EHR software. Interface complexity depends on the number of features and functions an EHR has. While building interfaces ensure to display the data in time series and incorporate HL7 messages. Create a hardware and software environment to test the interfaces.
  • Get Downtime Protocols in Place: Be prepared for setbacks, and have a robust contingency plan in place for events like downtime, natural disasters, or cyber-attacks. These plans help to safeguard critical data and transfer it to a safe place and help to retrieve it on time.
  • Complete Data Transfers and Test them: Make sure to test the new EHR system once all data is migrated. Check whether the system is working as expected with all the data in it.
  • Keep Communicating with Staff and Vendors: The management team of the healthcare facility has to be in constant communication with the vendors and staff to ensure that things are running as planned. Check whether they’re on par with the decided EHR implementation timeline. A weekly review meeting can keep the communication lines open.

1 to 3 Months Before the Launch

  • Conduct Final Checks: Double-check what you’ve accomplished from the past nine months. This includes workflows, staff training, data migration, new system tests, hardware and software installation, etc. Final checks make you ready for the launch.
  • Share Protocols Amongst Staff: This includes operations and functioning of the new EHR, roles, and responsibilities of staff, and day-to-day routines.

1 Month Before the Launch

  • Reduce patient load
  • Access and re-check EHR utilization skills, workflows, and understanding of the new system.
  • Test, test, and test!
  • Gather feedback from medical staff, admin, and patients. Make changes if necessary, identify flaws, and correct them.

Go-Live with the New EHR

Once all the above steps are accomplished, it is time to launch the new EHR system in the market. After this, evaluate whether the system is working as desired. Perform ROI calculations, analyze data errors, survey patient and physician satisfaction rates, and assess its efficiency.

The EHR implementation timeline discussed above will help to build a foundation for your project. It will augment to newer heights if you bring in experts to handle the EHR implementation process.

Arkenea, a leading healthcare software development company offers EHR/EMR implementation and development services. With over 12 years of experience in the healthcare industry, our team of experts knows what works best and aligns with your organization’s standards. Connect with Arkenea to get top-rated EHR software, made exclusively for you.