A Comprehensive Guide to the Stages of EHR Implementation

Key Takeaway:

  • EHR implementation is a complex process that involves several stages, including planning and preparation, workflow analysis, system configuration, testing, training, go-live, and optimization.
  • Each stage of EHR implementation is critical to the success of the implementation and requires thorough planning and execution.
  • EHR implementation is an ongoing process that requires continuous evaluation, improvement, and maintenance to ensure optimal performance and patient care.
  • Healthcare organizations should invest the time and resources needed to ensure a successful EHR implementation, including selecting the right vendor, forming an implementation team, and providing comprehensive end-user training.

Systems for keeping track of patients’ medical histories aid in the delivery of patient-centered care and make management responsibilities easier for practitioners. EHRs increase the caliber of medical care by providing quick and safe access to medical data. The EHR market is booming right now. It is anticipated to surpass USD 47 billion by the end of 2027.

As EHRs save the labor of medical assistants and encourage preventive medicine, implementing them in a medical facility can be a profitable choice. This article covers the stages of EHR implementation and best pratices of implementing it.

Prerequisite of implementing electronic health record system

The major objectives of developing an EHR system are to reduce operational costs and raise the standard of medical care. You must be completely aware of the tools that will enable you to accomplish your objectives. Learn more about EHR system usage best practices and become familiar with its particular requirements.

1. Required features

Each piece of software has a special feature that works toward specific objectives. The development and implementation costs of your EHR will depend on how many features you require. Therefore, you should only select features that deliver the anticipated benefits. Data entry and data access tools, scheduling, patient management, automated reports, task management, and other features are part of the EHR fundamental feature set.

2. Requisites for security

Protected health information (PHI), which includes medical history, social security number, name, address, phone number, insurance information, and more, is interacted by electronic health record systems. The HIPAA Privacy Rule safeguards this data. Any software that has access to PHI should include additional levels of security to function legally. Multi-factor authentication, access control, password checks, data backups, data encryption at rest and in transit, IP-blockers, virus protection, and other security measures are examples of secure EHR system.

3. Legal compliance

According to surveys, users don’t believe software suppliers will abide by their privacy agreements.

Data security is much more of an issue for medical facilities. The recovery process could cost healthcare facilities time, reputation, and money if fraudsters steal or damage data. For the EHR system, following industry norms is essential. To avoid fines, the healthcare sector should abide by the following rules:

  • EHR specification standards: HL7 standards, such as Clinical Document Architecture and Clinical Context Management Specification.
  • GDPR and ISO are common standards for data protection.
  • Standards for the industry: HIPAA Privacy Rule.

To avoid corrective expenses and additional development, it is best to take care of legal compliance before deploying an EHR system.

Implementation an EHR System: A Step-by-Step Guide

1. Create a Clearly Defined Roadmap

Start by thoroughly evaluating your facility’s adoption preparedness for an EHR. Find out if the infrastructure, clinical procedures, instruction, and training that are already in place can support the deployment of an EHR system.

The lack of management to assess its requirements at the outset is one of the factors contributing to failed EHR implementations. To effectively analyze the state of medical practices and capabilities today, high-level executives must be included in the planning process.

Additionally, they must specify the EHR system’s required features and choose crucial success indicators for post-go-live evaluation.

2. Develop a powerful leadership team

Your EHR project plan must include a steering committee that is knowledgeable, experienced, and wise. An application analyst, QA test engineer, application developer, physician advocacy, nurse advocate, and billing advocate make up the implementation team in a standard EHR implementation plan template. The project manager (who may also function as the practice manager) may also be on the team.

Throughout the implementation process, there should be an open and cooperative exchange of information between the team members.

3. Establish budget projections and limits

An issue that frequently arises during the EMR implementation process is investing a significant amount of resources in EHR only to receive mediocre returns. Your company should work to improve healthcare service quality while reducing expenses.

You can see how the budget is divided up into human resources, administrative, supply, and other significant line items in this EHR implementation plan example created by the Healthcare Financial Management Association.

Whatever your current EHR budget estimates are, you should typically plan to spend roughly $6,000 more than you had anticipated because of additional costs related to setting up the system, conducting maintenance, and putting security measures.

However, you can reduce these as much as you can with the aid of a well-defined budget. Make sure the budget contains:

  • System improvements
  • Customization advisory
  • Training costs
  • Costs of cloud migration with backup and storage
  • Consultation fees

4. Get the Infrastructure Ready

To ensure effectiveness and high uptime, the information technology infrastructure for your EHR installations should include strong security policies and speedy disaster recovery strategies. Incorporating registries, interoperability, security, privacy, and safety into its architecture is a good idea.

Your system must be HIPAA compliant, which is one non-negotiable. To ensure perfect compliance, you can always collaborate with a knowledgeable EHR vendor or consultant.

You’ll also need to evaluate and put your hardware needs into practice in addition to the software. Additional printer installation and providing each employee with the proper tech tools are required for hardware preparation.

5. Data transfer

Data transfer from your legacy system is the next stage in adopting certified healthcare software when your infrastructure is ready. Analyze the optimal strategy for patient and physician comfort first. Clinical staff dissatisfaction is decreased and user acceptance is increased through seamless data movement. Think about the following to speed up data transfer:

  • Defining the migration criteria, including what must be moved and the size of the backup
  • Educating data entry personnel
  • Making a workflow sheet to ensure complete transparency for data entry
  • Verifying and confirming that all data is entered accurately
  • Safely storing the paper charts

6. Conduct EHR training sessions

In order to convince your personnel to use the new EHR system, you must now consider the training component of your EHR deployment. The training ought to be thorough and tailored, emphasizing the important advantages of an EHR and the best practices for its implementation.

In this EHR implementation step, take into account:

  • Assembling a team of highly qualified trainers
  • Appointing super users as points of contact for departments
  • Establishing a training schedule with certain objectives
  • Adjusting instruction to users’ existing skill levels
  • Encouraging staff to participate in real-time for a hands-on learning opportunity

7. Get Set to Launch

Before the official launch, test your new EHR in a simulated environment or a production setting to ensure there are no major issues.

Your team ought to be proficient by this point in the features of the system and their responsibilities for making the most of it. All necessary data ought to have been transferred to the EHR. Additionally, each person and department should have established workflow processes in place for billing, clinical documentation, scheduling, and patient follow-up.

The implementation team should be equipped to identify and fix problems as they arise during testing. You might also think about reducing the number of patients on the actual launch day to ease staff tension. Clients should be made aware of the launch as well as the ways in which this invention helps and benefits patients.

Finally, to prevent widespread errors and issues, make sure to implement an incremental or phased release whenever new features, modules, or content is available.

8. After-Launch Analysis

The stages of EHR implemetation continue after the system is launched; they don’t end with go-live. Iterative and continual, this process necessitates ongoing training.

After the launch, think on optimizing things like:

  • Reduce hassles to improve patient satisfaction
  • Degrees of productivity: Establish appropriate standards to maintain staff motivation.
  • Return on investment: Compute indicators to gauge progress toward goals.
  • Rates of data errors Analyze the quality of the input and identify any areas that require more training.
  • Information gathering, charging, and reporting: Adjust as necessary to enhance operations all around.

The best practices for EHR implementation

Here are a few best practices to follow to ensure a fruitful EHR implementation:

  • Guarantee HIPAA compliance. Follow the security precautions and check the software’s HIPAA compliance before using it to prevent HIPAA violations. You can consider setting up a HIPAA risk assessment to do this.
  • Be ready for anything. During the process of implementing your EHR, it’s very likely that you’ll encounter some unforeseen problems, like a power outage or system failures. As a result, it’s crucial that you identify prospective problems and have a plan on how to deal with them.
  • Gather suggestions. Consistently gathering employee input will help you get the most out of your EHR system. You can enhance and modify your EHR system in this way to suit your medical practice.
  • Metrics for the deployment of EHRs. Monitoring EHR implementation measures, such as user happiness, return on investment (ROI), and EHR training rates, can assist you in assessing the success of the process and making improvements.

Challenges with EHR implementation

Without the proper planning, you could have difficulties when implementing your EHR, such as:

  • Workflow breakdown. Optimizing the workflow in your clinic is the aim of employing an EHR system. However, if an EHR solution isn’t made specifically for your medical practice, your workflow might be disrupted. As a result, be careful to request a demonstration from the vendor on how your practice should integrate and configure the EHR system.
  • Inadequate instruction. Only if your staff members are trained to use your EHR system properly will it be of any use. But staff training requires time, effort, and money, so be sure to plan your staff training requirements in advance.
  • Costs. The cost of implementing an EHR can be high. To ensure that your practice can afford it, carefully planning your budget is one of the first EHR adoption stages.

Conclusion

Stages of EHR implementation is a complex process that requires careful planning, preparation, and execution. Each stage of the implementation process plays a critical role in the success of the implementation, and organizations should invest the time and resources needed to ensure a successful implementation.

Arkenea provides integrated EHR/EMR software for healthcare organizations. It was designed to integrate seamlessly with the practice management tools that your facility employs. For additional information, please contact Arkenea.