Clinical managers play a big role in implementing Electronic Health Records (EHR). It is important for managers to know what to expect, and to become as prepared as possible. Adequate preparation is the key to a successful implementation. Lack of preparation and unclear expectations can lead to confusion among the providers and staff, frustration and a prolonged implementation. Below are some preparation and expectation tips for creating momentum and a successful implementation.
1. Set Expectations with all Staff – Setting expectations and tone is an exceptionally important part of the success of any implementation. The staff must not only know their role and what is expected of them, but should also be participating in building solutions well in advance of the go-live. I have always said “you are as strong as your support staff”. Therefore, it is pertinent for the staff to know what is expected of them from all facets such as; behavior and expected job duties.
2. Work Closely with EHR Staff – The EHR staffs’ job is to guide the clinic through a successful implementation. This is accomplished through communication, workflow assessments, organizational and project planning and training. The clinical manager will work closely with the EHR staff during the build and set-up process. It is important for the manager to be involved during this process to ensure that the EHR meets the operational requirements of the site.
3. Decisions – Clinical managers plays a big role in decision making. The decisions that are made prior to implementation are important to the success of the go-live. The decisions that are made should also be communicated to the appropriate users within the clinic. Some key decisions include clinical documentation templates, tasking, worklists and future state workflow.
4. Training and Practicing - Learning to use the EHR effectively is one of the most critical pieces to a successful implementation. The EHR is an investment that is made to improve quality and meet expectations, so skipping training and practicing can infringe on success. Allow you and your staff adequate time for training and practicing. Learning the EHR prior to go-live will enable you to keep the quality that you desire. Training will instill confidence that is necessary for a successful go-live. Successful training will lead to higher levels of adoption out of the gate. The more information that the training team has from the clinic, the better training that they will be able to provide with specific specialty and role based scenarios.
5. Go-live Support Planning – Having support during the go-live is beneficial for many reasons, enhancing the success of the go-live and confidence among the staff. Planning for go-live support is a vital step. Managing provider and staff vacations, creating schedules to place support people in strategically located positions on site for go-live coaching, identifying individuals who may need additional support, identifying and assisting with individuals who may be more resistant to change and managing provider schedules are some examples of what needs to take place during the go-live support planning process.
Preparation and knowing what to expect can avoid confusion and frustration and drive the needle from failure to success.