In my informal survey of Successful EMR Software implementations, I have found 2 very important factors that make EMR Software implementation and Adoption successful. I have used two words:
- EMR Implementation
- EMR Adoption
Let me distinguish between the two.
EMR Implementation is just about usage of the system. It implies that you are putting a layer on top of your practice workflow, trying to automate and speed up some of the tasks everyone does. It does not talk about improving practice and workflow efficiency. In other words, you are just doing things better. If your practice workflow is inefficient, with technology, you just make that inefficiency better.
EMR Adoption indicates that your practice uses and depends on the EMR system to help you become better and more efficient. It forces you to examine your processes and weed out inefficiencies.
What are the Two Secrets of Successful EMR Implementation?
- Continuous Training
- Focus on Adoption versus Implementation - Focus on Processes
There must be a good plan for training with the right trainers. Sometimes training is done by IT people and that is ok, they know the application, and can show you what buttons to press, but they don't always understand the practice workflow. It is always better to be trained by clinicians that know the system or by consultants that are experts in practice workflow. It is not important to learn every trick in the book, every intricate aspect of the EMR software to prepare for every possible workflow scenario.
Good training enforces, over time, simulations of workflows, 'what-if' situations.
Another important aspect of training is Continuous training and reinforcement training - not to different in philosophies from CME.
Too many practices and provides underestimate the importance of training. In the process, they over estimate their (and their staff's) ability to learn the EMR system, however easy it may seem. Part of it is driven by the motivation to try to reduce costs.
Training is precisely the Wrong place to cut costs. It actually costs you more in the long run to cut training costs. I wrote an article in February 2013 about this.
EMR Software Adoption - Process 're-engineering'
After EMR software implementation, one mistake practices make is to assume that everything will stay the same day-to-day. You are investing in EMR technology to become better and more efficient. You should not just assume that by 'implementing' and 'installing' EMR Software, it is going to solve all your problems.
Again, distinguish between Implementation and Adoption. Strive to examine your workflows and how EMR software can help improve them - re-engineer them.
Once EMR Software is implemented and Adopted, it is a process of continuous improvement. It must be a sustained effort to stay on top with changes - staff turnover, software updates, regulatory updates (MU, ICD-10), etc. It takes continual effort to constantly strive for improvement to get results of increased efficiency.