According to a survey report carried out by The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology nearly 96% of the reported non-federal acute care hospitals have certified EHR technology and approximately 84% of the hospitals had adopted Basic EHR system. Implementing an EHR system offer many benefits for the healthcare it consulting organizations such as the capacity of interchanging health information electronically for the provision of higher quality and more protected care for the patients. Moreover, they are also useful to develop concrete improvements for healthcare organizations.
Even with the perceptible advantages of complete implementation planning, the healthcare it consulting companies have to face many challenges in implementing an EHR system. To get the whole organization on board, to schedule the time, and to find the resources for making the change is a major take on. The hospitals need to evaluate the level of their existing practice in terms of proficiency, usefulness, and management. If the present workflow of healthcare it consulting company is well-designed, the workflow of an EHR should be continuing the same trend. For the evaluation of the current practice, factors such as computer knowledge of the staff, availability, and access of high-speed internet, availability of equipment, financial suitability, and practice preferences must be taken into considerations.
Strategizing and preparing for an EHR involves a breakdown of the activities that will be commenced, sustained or terminated. Assessing the workflow and processes enables the capability of the healthcare it consulting organizations to adapting the elements to be suitable for the electronic records, in some areas only eliminating some steps like no more getting charts from the file room as information can be accessed on a computer, and including some steps such as electronic connection to the Pharmacy for transferring prescriptions.
Planning is suitable for converting the paper charts into electronic records, taking into consideration the federal rules and regulations about destroying the protected patient information. It is mostly possible that the format for demographics, patient information, and following visits on the paper might be modified on the EHR in order to refine the flow and storage of the data.
Overcome the EHR Implementation Challenges with a Strategic Plan
Prior to implementing EHR, healthcare it consulting organizations must take into consideration some potential challenges they might face. Dealing with the challenges from the inception of EHR implementation can be very helpful for the healthcare organizations to establish practical prospects and controllable goals.
- Usability: There is a high possibility that some of the EHR systems may have usability challenges for the healthcare it consulting companies. Multiple screens, complicated navigation, and excessive options often cause frustration among physicians and nurses or make it difficult for them to process patient notes. It is quite possible that many of the practices and hospitals may lack the extra time needed to acquire an understanding to work with a new system. However, lacking in understanding to use an EHR system can affect productivity negatively, therefore it is absolutely important to deal with the usability issues.
- Technical Skills: Computer knowledge and skills in healthcare it consulting companies can differ on the basis of their location or duration of their existence. Let’s say, the countryside healthcare organizations most probably will be tailing behind city hospitals in implementing EHRs. Moreover, connectivity can be more of a problem for the countryside located healthcare it consulting organizations, as stated by the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Besides, it is quite possible that older healthcare organizations may give preference to paper records than understanding the new technology. It can also take extra efforts for getting the technology-reluctant clinicians around to venture for EHR systems, particularly if they are convinced that their method is doing good.
- Privacy Concerns: Healthcare it consulting organizations and patients have been showing their concerns regarding the medical information privacy with EHRs. Although the paper records can be mundane and incompetent to some extent, they surely don’t face any kind of cyber threats. Suchlike security infringements can bring about significant harms to the patients, along with causing lawsuits to the healthcare providers. As stated by the HRSA (Health Resources and Service Administration), the general privacy concerns with EHRs are unlicensed access to medical records, meddling with the health information and the danger of losing the health records due to a natural calamity. Hence, it’s a smart thing to take into consideration these risks when selecting security policies while implementing an EHR system.
- Cost: Undoubtedly, it can be very costly for the healthcare it consulting organizations to implement EHR systems. Acquiring the funds to invest in the setup, personnel, training, and support needed for installation, and maintenance of an EHR system might be an impediment, particularly for the small or mid-sized healthcare providers. Ambiguity over the long-term ROI (return on investment) can aggravate this apprehension. Relate costs, for example, increased physician time prerequisites and a decline in patient visits through the period of EHR implementation can disturb the healthcare organizations’ bottom lines.
- People: There are also high chances for the healthcare companies to face such patients and providers who can reject the EHRs or they can be simply dejected due to the challenges of technical skills, cost, and usability. For the healthcare organizations lacking EHR supporters, achieving a successful rollout gets more problematic. Challenges for EHR implementation can be different from various groups. The patients can have such apprehensions that the healthcare providers may not worry about. Within the healthcare it consulting organizations, the EHR challenges for a nurse can vary from the challenges that a doctor or an IT professional may have to face.
Even though EHR implementation may bring forth certain challenges, yet it can also lead an organization to improved efficiency and savings in healthcare provision. The best way to deal with these challenges is to address them during the planning stages for the implementation.
Attaining Meaningful Use
As soon as the system is installed and operating, the healthcare it consulting organizations do need to follow the financial incentives programs provided by Medicare and Medicaid in order to achieve levels of meaningful use. These criteria involve refining the quality of care, involving patients and families, enhancing the management of care, advancing public health and safeguarding the privacy of personal health information (PHI). These pointers are accomplished through such techniques like clinical quality measures, e-prescribing, patient-specific education sources, and patient reminders are a few to name. The EHR and connected procedures are required to be assessed on regular basis to ensure productivity and precision. The workflow and templates might be required to be modified to progress the outflow. It might also be needed to reorganize the staff to be responsible for the changes and improvements in patient flow and data supervision.
Gain the Benefits
Although the procedure of switching from paper file system to an EHR system may appear somehow depressing, there are very few circumstances these days where it will not bring about an improvement in efficiency and patient satisfaction, increase in productivity, improvement in data usage, and a decrease in costs on long-term. A well-designed and meticulously strategized procedure is crucial for a smooth transition and implementation of an EHR system and this goal can be achieved by utilizing many available sources.
Hence, to help healthcare organizations with their EHR implementation, Virtelligence has developed a team of consultants with an extensive set of skills and knowledge in all major EHR systems. By increasing the number of our practices including Epic, Cerner consulting, and Allscripts, we make sure to provide the right solutions with impartiality and full focus on your organization’s improvement.