Switching electronic health record (EHR) systems can be an extremely daunting task. This is especially true for small private practices that don’t have an entire IT department at their disposal to assist with the transition.
And yet, figures show that more than 85% of office-based physicians are adopting EHR systems, and this is a direct result of their ability to provide accurate and up-to-date information about the patient the moment they step through the door.
So, how should you go about switching to a much-needed EHR system when the task itself will be so overwhelming? Luckily, there are some tips you can follow to make switching EHRs a seamless experience.
4 Tips for When You Switch EHR Systems
If you are considering switching EHR systems, or are even adopting one for the first time, there are a few things you should know to help make the process easier.
Here are 4 great tips to follow when switching EHR systems:
- Create a team for implementation
- Prepare new software
- Establish new workflows
- Provide training for staff
Create a Team for Implementation
One of the most effective steps you can take to ensure a smooth transition is to select a group of people within your organization to be in charge of implementing the system. This should be a collection of people from different departments, such as a doctor, nurse, administrative assistant, and so on.
At least one or two of these people should have extra training in using the new EHR system so they can serve as internal trainers and assist other employees with any questions they may have about the new EHR system. By designating this responsibility to one or two employees, you can help prevent other staff members from getting bogged down trying to figure the system out or help someone else out with the same task.
Prepare New Software
It would be wise to make sure your security software is fully updated and ready to use before attempting to switch EHR systems. After all, you want to be able to switch EHRs, and then have it ready for full use as soon as possible.
One way to ensure your security software is up to date is to conduct a HIPAA security risk assessment. This can be done using a downloadable tool, and is actually required by the HIPAA Security Rule and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service Electronic Health Record Incentive Program.
Establish New Workflows
Switching EHR systems will naturally change the way in which your facility operates. This is why it’s best to create your new workflows before implementing the new EHR system.
Doing this gives you two huge advantages. First, it gives your current staff enough time to review the new workflows and ask any questions they may have before implementing the new system. Secondly, it helps to limit the number of avoidable mistakes that could occur shortly after implementation.
And the most important thing to remember about these new workflows is that they should be seamless and compatible with the new EHR system you are putting in place.
When you’re creating your new workflows, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does this step add value to the patient?
- Does this step improve staff efficiency or slow things down?
- Could this workflow be better organized?
- Is every step in this workflow necessary?
Asking these questions as you build the new workflow will help you avoid building one that slows down the efficiency of your medical practice.
Provide Training for Staff
Not only should you prepare training sessions for employees to get familiarized and comfortable with your new EHR system, but you should prepare for the amount of time that this will take.
Consider how tech-savvy your staff is before trying to pick a timeline for this training. You want to give them enough time to become familiar with the new EHR system, but not so long that they nearly forget their training by the time the new system is implemented.
It’s likely that every staff member will need to use the new EHR system at one point or another, and having everyone trained can prevent those avoidable moments where another staff member has to stop what they are doing to help train someone.
And not only will training sessions help employees familiarize themselves with the new EHR, but it will also help drive adoption for the new system. This goes a long way toward getting your entire medical facility on board with the new way of doing things.
Implementing a new EHR system may seem overwhelming, but by taking the proper steps beforehand, you can minimize the number of issues and roadblocks that you run into along the way.
Of course, if you are still worried about making the switch to a new EHR, you can always rely on the support of a medical practice management team to assist you with the transition. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions or concerns that you may have. We would be more than happy to help you take the proper next steps to transition to a new EHR system, or simply provide you with some more medical practice tips.