The electronic health record (EHR) implementation process starts before you decide on which EHR solution to purchase for your independent practice. You will first need to determine your goals, assess your readiness, and prepare your team for the technology change.
Patients will also need to know that you are implementing an EHR system, so communication and education will be necessary to ensure they are prepared as well.
EHR implementation can be a complicated process, but it’s also an incredibly beneficial one for your practice – so it’s important to get it right. Read on to learn how to master the implementation process from start to finish.
Why implement a new EHR system?
EHR systems have numerous benefits for healthcare organizations. If you have the proper EHR software in place, your system will help you by:
- Providing accurate and up-to-date information about patients
- Allowing swift access to patient records
- Sharing patient information with other practitioners securely
- Assisting in the effective diagnosis of patients
- Reducing medical errors
- Improving communication with patients
- Streamlining coding and billing
- Optimizing your workflow
- And more!
If you don’t have an EHR system, or your system isn’t providing you with all these benefits, it’s time to implement a new one.
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Steps required in the EHR implementation process
To properly implement your electronic health record system, you should:
1. Identify specific needs and set goals
Before moving forward with EHR implementation, you will need to understand what outcomes you want to achieve with a new EHR system. For example, perhaps you want to streamline operations, reduce the administrative burden on your staff, or meet regulatory requirements.
Once you’ve established your goals, you will then need to decide what features you will need in your new EHR system. To start, understand what telehealth, communication, billing, and charting features are important for your practice.
2. Select the right EHR vendor
Now that you’ve identified the key features your new EHR system needs and set goals, you will then research and evaluate different EHR vendors.
You’ll want to ensure that the EHR software you choose has the features you need such as patient records, billing, scheduling, and regulatory reporting capabilities. You’ll also need to identify the integrations that your practice needs such as integration with outside labs, billing systems, software tools, and practice management solutions.
Not sure what features you need in an EHR system? Get expert insights into the features independent physicians need in EHR systems by downloading our free EHR buyers guide.
3. Create an EHR implementation plan
Once you’ve chosen the best EHR vendor for your needs, you’ll then start creating an implementation plan. Include a timeline for announcing your new EHR, training, testing the system, and fully implementing and using the EHR solution. Select the individuals who will help you choose and set up your new EHR software. These people should be involved in every step of your EHR implementation plan.
Once you’ve established an EHR implementation plan, share it with all team members in the practice and encourage leaders within the organization to assist in implementing the plan.
4. Customize your EHR to your needs
From there, you’ll need to work with the EHR vendor to customize the EHR system to meet your organization’s needs. You’ll want to configure any necessary features, set up workflows to reduce administrative burden and create special templates.
5. Complete the data migration process
You will then need to plan and execute the migration of existing patient data from your old EHR to your new EHR. This process typically involves cleansing and converting data formats to ensure consistent data between the old system and the new one.
Download our free EHR implementation guide for expert insights
Ensure a smooth EHR implementation and migration process with our free EHR implementation guide.
6. Host training sessions for staff
Assess your team’s comfort level and understanding of computers, workflows, and clinical needs. It will be necessary, once your new system is in place, for your team to be trained on the EHR solution and the process used to optimize its effectiveness. They should be prepared to participate fully in learning how to properly use the EHR.
7. Conduct thorough testing
Before the go-live date, you should thoroughly test your new EHR system to identify and resolve any issues. This step will ensure that the system works properly and minimize potential disruptions during the system migration process.
Additionally, it is recommended that you conduct a pilot test with a small group of users to uncover any potential problems with user experience or functionality. From there, you can make any necessary changes to the EHR system before launch.
8. Implement your new EHR system
Once you’ve conducted thorough testing and all problems have been resolved, you’re ready to launch your EHR system. Be sure to monitor performance over the first few weeks and fix any issues that arise.
Elation’s Clinical EHR takes less than one hour to learn and you’ll receive one-on-one implementation support from our dedicated team. Learn more about our cloud-based certified EHR software.
Tips for a successful EHR implementation
To ensure a successful EHR implementation process for your independent practice, consider these valuable tips that will improve your transition to the new system:
Prepare your patients
When your practice implements a new EHR system, there will be changes in the way you interact with your patients and in the way patients access their medical data. Preparation and communication before implementation will ensure these changes are positive, benefitting both patients and independent practice.
Provide user support resources
To ensure that your staff uses the EHR effectively, you should put together ongoing support resources such as training videos, training materials, and troubleshooting guides. This way, you’re able to train and onboard new staff members quickly and help staff resolve any issues.
Engage in ongoing optimization
Assess your new EHR system to make sure it runs smoothly with your infrastructure and doesn’t need troubleshooting or rebooting. Ask your team if they have run into any problems or need extra training on any area of the system. If so, speak with your vendor.
For more best practices, you can download our free eBook: Implementation Best Practices Starting or Switching an EHR.
How can we help with EHR implementation?
Elation offers an ONC-certified, HIPAA-Compliant EHR that empowers independent physicians to deliver phenomenal patient care. With Elation, you’ll benefit from ongoing EHR implementation support so you can provide an exceptional level of care for your patients.
Your practice’s success is our primary focus, and we make it easy to get help when needed.
Download our Free EHR Implementation Guide today to ensure a smooth EHR transition, and learn more about Elation’s Clinical-First EHR software.
What is an EHR implementation?
EHR implementation is the process of planning and integrating EHR software into a healthcare organization.
What are common barriers to EHR implementation?
The three most common obstacles in the EHR implementation process are:
- The cost of the EHR system
- The buy-in for the EHR system
- Learning to use the EHR system
You should engage in a cost-benefit analysis when choosing your EHR software, and ensure it is user-friendly and easy for your team to master.
What are the steps to implementing an EHR system?
Your EHR implementation plan should include the following steps:
- Build your team: Select the people who will be involved in choosing your new EHR.
- Set your goals: Determine the features and functions your EHR needs to have for your practice to run smoothly.
- Submit requests: Research potential vendors and submit Requests for Information (RFI) and Requests for Proposals (RFP).
- Evaluate responses: Once the RFIs and RFPs have been returned, see how the responses match up to your requirements.
- Rank vendors: Narrow down the list of potential vendors to your top 2 or 3.
- Demonstrations: Ask your top vendors to provide demonstrations of their products for you.
- Selection: Choose the EHR system you want, and formulate a plan to implement it.
- Full implementation: Get your EHR system up and running with the help of your vendor. Make plans for your staff to be trained on the new system.
If you want to ensure you don’t miss any important steps, download our free EHR Implementation Guide