What does it take to ensure your recent purchase of your electronic health record (EHR) moves along as you envision and plan? With contract signing behind you, you are about to embark on your EHR Implementation.
Your organization is making a big change and commitment to move to a new EHR. This decision was made with a lot of consideration, and of course, resources. Some of your business processes will change and your organization will become more efficient. Too many times however, change brings out anxiety and resistance in staff. Frequently, staff see these projects as burdensome because they are used to the status quo. The remedy? Create a culture of willingness and openness to learning something new. The “you must do this” approach is not helpful. Rather, look for input and generate curiosity among staff about your EHR.
Your internal implementation team will consist of leaders and subject matter experts. But sometimes the team will need help to move the process forward. For example, while a program director might understand how things “should” work in their department, many times staff have found a more efficient workaround. All staff must be flexible enough to:
Sometimes, only the internal EHR team is aware that a big change is coming or the enormity of what is involved in adopting a new EHR system. Most staff members are not mindful of the immense work that goes into setting up the new system. Keeping your workforce apprised of the project progress and needs is critical for success. One very easy way to do this is to send out an all-staff communication (ie: email, weekly newsletter, etc.) that briefly talks about the project with updates—make it fun! This will enable line staff to understand the process requests made of them.
Regularly updating the workforce is important, but the key is helping them understand the project at a high level. Most line staff want to know “Will this make my job easier or more difficult?” or “How will this impact me?” Being able to circulate around to different departments to address these questions, and to engender a culture of collaboration is vital for success.
This concept is enormously helpful when going through an implementation. There will be some things about the project you just cannot change. Examples include having limited financial resources. Another is not every single item you desire in the system is realistic, such as building a highly customized lab interface. There will be give and take during the project and decisions will need to be made. Differentiating between “must-haves” and “wants” will be an exercise in group decision-making for your Implementation team. Accepting good-enough versus perfect will be a growth experience!
Our nation’s recent experience with COVID accelerated and emphasized many things: innovative technology solutions and learning how to work together while apart. The mindset should be, we are one team, working together to help your EHR transition go as smoothly as possible. Collaborating, problem-solving, brainstorming, and delivering asks (such as spreadsheets on workflows) will strengthen the vendor/client partnership.
Typically, your vendor provides you deadlines to get your system set up and running for your “go-live.” Vendors such as Streamline Healthcare Solutions have a solid timeline in place to collect information for their developers. Information from spreadsheets, such as a workflow spreadsheet, can be used to translate information before sending to the Developers. Streamline uses a monthly due date to keep track of all their tasks and submission timelines. It’s important that there is open communication between you and your vendor because one little data field change in the system could create a domino effect of setbacks that would need careful assessment prior to executing.
By keeping your “eyes on the prize,” will get you through the more difficult moments of the project. Gathering requirements, itemizing state reporting, and bringing forward all the “one-offs” that happen at organizations can be tedious. Sometimes it may be confusing why your vendor is asking you to perform certain tasks. One helpful item to keep in mind is that you and your vendor should have the same goal in mind: making this project successful and a victory for all!
With an Implementation project and a determined go-live date, you will need support from your leadership. Examples of beneficial support include: taking a day off to clear your mind of the project, ongoing balance of self-care and productivity, having your supervisor or direct report ask what they can do to be helpful to you, or being given permission to let usual job duties go by the wayside will all be important forms of support.
Learn, practice, repeat. The more you use the system the less frustrating it will be for you. Even seasoned users discover new perks or tricks that they hadn’t discovered before. Encourage end-users to play around and practice, at least 20 minutes every day. Like learning a new musical instrument, proficiency is gained with repetition and learning. The more you use your new EHR technology, the more you will feel confident that your organization made the right choice with its EHR selection.
The right partner can help ensure your EHR is set up for success. Contact Streamline Healthcare Solutions today to get more information on how you can start implementing SmartCare.