Perspectives 12-16-09-b

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Category: EHR Perspectives, Uncategorized
Date: December 28, 2009
Views:4,221 views

Hello, I’m Dr. Eric Fishman with EHR Perspectives. Today I will be discussing: The Office Role in Planning for an EHR Implementation.

*EHR Implementation is more involved than just a software installation. There are many responsibilities of the EHR vendor such as the actual installation. However, your medical practice holds most of the implementation responsibilities.

*First and foremost, your practice must set up an issues log. An issues log will help document, manage, and resolve inevitable problems. This enables you to analyze and track the time it takes to fix an outstanding issue. It also will allow you to address specific issues more forcefully with your vendor.

*It will be beneficial for a detailed, or at a minimum- a basic, implementation plan to be included in your vendor contract. The plan will assure a complete understanding of the vendor’s proposed implementation strategy and help set milestones. Unfortunately, some vendors are reluctant to provide an implementation plan as part of the contract. Be sure to ask the vendor to see their generic implementation plan if they do not provide you one. A generic implementation plan will not include specific details pertaining to your practice. Therefore, your practice should be prepared with your own detailed plan that contains specific information.

*In order to make your own detailed plan, you must first make a list of all the generic steps that are involved in implementation. Then, based on your contract, define your practice’s and your vendor’s responsibilities. Meet with your vendor make the generic plan into a comprehensive one that suits your needs. These meetings should be scheduled with the vendor implementation team and your IT staff, operations team and clinical staff.

*There are several ways to create a thorough project plan. You can use Microsoft Office’s Word or Excel and create tables and spreadsheets. Another route is to use project planning software. Project planning software is extremely advanced software which incorporates: task delineation, task dependency checking, task scheduling and progress, and resource allocation. This software might be helpful because EHR implementation tasks are rarely linear and frequently modular.

*Your turnover strategy will determine how the EHR system will be deployed. You must determine the method you will use to transition from a paper office to a paperless one. The two methods are: a ‘big bang’ approach, where you implement the EHR all at once – or you can implement the EHR in incremental phases. Your vendor may recommend one method over the other based on the software and your practice’s workflows.

*Early on in the implementation process, the EHR vendor will select a core group of people from your staff to initially train. However, a training plan is necessary for the rest of the staff and users to learn the system. You will also have to plan for software updates, as well as if you hire new employees. Your training plan must consider the initial training that the vendor offers and determine if you need to purchase additional training.

*It is extremely important to test the system before going live. Testing can be included in your master implementation plan, but be sure to develop a separate checklist of every component that needs to be tested, when it was tested, and the results. If the results are not satisfactory, this information is recorded in your issues log. Do not indicate completion of the test on your master implementation plan until the issue is resolved. Your vendor contract should specify the extent to which the vendor is responsible for each type of testing.

* Lastly, you must identify ways to improve your EHR and share your results with your vendor. The product should able to accommodate your desired changes. The vendor implementation team has insight into the software capabilities, and may be able to suggest improvements weren’t initially considered.

These are just the beginning steps in the implementation process. Other major steps of EHR implementation include: installation, system building, and going live. While the vendor may play the primary role in implementation planning, you will also need to plan for each phase, because your involvement is vital for a successful EHR implementation.

I’m Eric Fishman with EHR Perspectives. Thanks for watching.

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