The Dos & Don ts of EMR Implementation

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1 The Dos & Don ts of EMR Implementation Another solution from Source Medical

2 1 Executive Summary The decision to implement EMR (Electronic Medical Records) is a big one. Many factors must be considered before diving into an EMR transition, such as: How will this affect my staff? How will this affect my patients? How soon before I see ROI? It s important to plan for changes that will have to be made in the workplace and in the workflow should you decide to adopt an EMR. The more planning you do before implementation, the smoother your transition will be from paper to electronic. We ve compiled the following list of Do s and Don ts to serve as a guide as you start to move towards the goal of implementing EMR in your practice. Read on, and rest assured that with time, patience, and a great support team, your practice will easily step into the world of EMR software.

3 2 Contents Executive Summary... 1 Contents... 2 Do: Communicate with your team... 3 Don t: Leave your staff out of the loop Do: Be a leader... 4 Don t: Take everything on yourself... 4 Do: Get educated... 4 Do: Set realistic goals... 5 Do: Prepare for a change in workplace culture... 6 Do: Redesign workflow... 6 Don t: Fail to encourage participation in training and system testing 6 Do: Implement with enthusiasm!... 7 Do: Celebrate your success!... 8

4 3 Part I: Communication, Leadership, Education, Objectives Do: Communicate with your team This is a big decision that not only impacts your business, but your staff. Not everyone will feel confident about their ability to master EMR technology. Help your staff understand the intended value of the transition and how they can be participants in the journey. Failure to communicate can lead to rumors flying around the practice, which then leads to unfounded fear and doubt. Keep these points in mind when speaking with your staff: EMR is a tool. Implemented well, EMR serves as the key component for transforming a practice s operations and workflow. EMR will take the clinic to the next level. It will provide the means to improve the quality of care given to patients, while simultaneously growing the practice s bottom line. Weekly staff meetings (or more frequently if needed) are important. Use these to discuss and oversee workflow changes, processes, form development, etc. Transparency and open communication will pay off in the long run. Don t: Leave your staff out of the loop. Don t be a cog in the rumor mill. Not everyone will jump at the idea of making such a big change in the clinic. In order to quell uncertainty and fear, ask your EMR vendor to hold webinars demonstrating the software and best practices. Let your staff know that they will be receiving this support and training.

5 4 Do: Be a leader Determine who will be the practice s Superuser. This individual, be it yourself or one of your partners (but it must be a clinician), will champion the implementation process. The Superuser will have the authority and power to make decisions throughout the practice, and will hold all staff individually accountable for goals and behavior. Actively engage and prepare all staff members. Leave no staff member behind in the preparatory discussion. Engage the member(s) of your staff who are comfortable with IT and set them as additional superusers. Discuss your plans in detail with them and consider their feedback. Identify any pessimist(s). Naysayers can often be engaged and become some of the best champions once they see the value of the project. Don t: Take everything on yourself It s tempting to simply wear the mantel of EMR expert and discourage any and all criticism. Your dictatorship will come to a swift end the moment something goes wrong and you don t know how to fix it. Take your time to pick out the most technologically savvy individuals in your practice and give them a well-defined role. Not only will you be covered during a sick day, you ll encourage collaboration and confidence among your super users. Do: Get educated The internet is a great resource to learn about the EMR implementation process. Many clinicians have taken this journey already, so learn from your peers! Visit industry discussion forums and read what your peers have to say about their experience with EMR implementation. Visit practices in your area that use your vendor s EMR. Ask them about the process and what they wish they could have done differently. Don t be shy about asking your vendor for a contact list. Read through EMR blogs. A few choice keywords in a search engine should pull up several for you to peruse. The more you know, the more prepared you ll be!

6 5 Do: Set realistic goals Now that you ve educated yourself on what s actually happening in practices around you, sit down and record your practice s goals for an EMR implementation. Be realistic about your practice s financial and resource realities. Share with your staff what you ve learned from the resources available and get their feedback. Your goals must reflect the opinions and needs of everyone in your practice clinicians, office staff and patients. This means you must be proactive and ask for their input. Don t presume that you already know what the staff and patients expect. Examples of valid goals: Return to pre-implementation patient flow capacity within 90 days. Increase the accuracy of coding as evidenced by increased billing. Improve the efficiency of office processes as evidenced by a 50% reduction in overtime labor costs.

7 6 Part II: Culture Change, Workflow Redesign, Implementation Do: Prepare for a change in workplace culture Things will certainly not be the same in the workplace after EMR has been implemented. But that s what you want! In order to keep your practice running like a well -oiled machine during the implementation process, take the following points into consideration: Be flexible with the implementation process. You might start the process with a well - defined list of steps, but know that real-time alterations are inevitable. Expect this, and embrace it. Every practice is run a little differently, so no implementation will ever be exactly the same from one practice to the next. Introducing the new system will require mandatory use by all your staff. You will face resistance at some point in the journey, as no one wants to be told what to do. Meet that resistance with humor and empathy. Draw a line in the sand EMR is the new way of doing business for those who want to work in your practice. There are no workarounds, nor is there any allowance for Luddites (machine haters). During your weekly staff meetings, share what you ve learned from each other. Collaborate on solving problems so everyone can play a positive role in culture change. Do: Redesign workflow Map out your practice s patient visits from the beginning to the end of the care encounter. When you start this exercise, you may find the unspoken expectation is that your practice is simply digitizing your paper charts. While this expectation is normal, it misses the point of adopting an EMR. A powerful transformation can result in your practice if you keep an open mind. The advantages of EMR will be become immediately apparent as you consider the outcome of the mapping exercise time spent with the patient can be more productive and efficient, with less pending work to do (ideally none) at the conclusion of the patient visit. Don t: Fail to encourage participation in training and system testing Don t neglect to assess your staff s basic computer skills well before implementation (including your own!). Can you all type? Can you demonstrate effective use of a mouse? Are you and your

8 7 staff comfortable and at-ease when performing, say, online transactions? Can you and your staff easily create and respond to ? Ask your vendor for a list of computer skills required for a successful EMR adoption Well before the implementation process insist on hands-on basic computer training for those who need it Train staff before, during and after EMR implementation o Provide ample and repetitive training opportunities. Be flexible in training times and dates. Be prepared to temporarily reduce staff s workload to ensure they receive the training they need o Require all staff to train on the system prior to using it While the vendor is onsite, test the installed system for functionality and usability to ensure it meets your expectations of enhancing the patient visit and improving workflow. This also includes testing for meaningful use system requirements and reporting capabilities Double check the compatibility with your patient accounting system and other office systems while the trainer is onsite Do: Implement with enthusiasm! Respond immediately to negativity with education and support. Set clear expectations. Tackle obstacles, demonstrate flexibility and creativity in solving problems, and offer enthusiastic support for every threshold (no matter how small)

9 8 Assessment Congratulations! You re survived the implementation! Next, let s take some time to assess your practice s experience with the process and reiterate the value of the new EMR system. Conduct satisfaction surveys. Depending on the size of your practice, this could be very informal or more structured. o Survey everyone clinicians, staff, patients 30, 60 and 90 days post go-live. o Measure progress towards improved outcomes of care. o Measure the impact to the bottom line. Act upon the results. o Using the survey results, work with your team to analyze findings. o Stage the findings to include near-term and longer-term expectations. Set new goals and objectives from the new functionality, new workflow and new ability of the system. Continue to evolve the system based on the demands of your practice, your patients, payers and regulatory bodies. o Continue to plan for annual system upgrades and additional training, as appropriate. o Consider joining your vendor s user group, if available. Oftentimes this can be a powerful source of invaluable information. Do: Celebrate your success! Bring your team together whenever you reach a threshold and have a party! Celebrate every success, no matter how small it may seem. Be sure to share the news with your patients let them know what you can now do to improve their care and experience wi th your practice. Once the system is live, you re ready for the EMR Optimization stage of your journey. It s possible to improve the quality of your patients experience and to increase your practice s bottom line. Continue to look for ways to increase efficiencies, since go-live is only the beginning, and implementation is ongoing. Source Medical Solutions, Inc All rights reserved. SourceMedical is the leading provider of software and billing services for Rehabilitation Clinics, Ambulatory Surgery Centers and Specialty Hospitals nationwide. Over nearly 30 years, SourceMedical has become the trusted brand for innovative applications, industry expertise and unsurpassed customer service. Last year our software and billing services processed over 14 million outpatient transactions via 21,000 therapy professionals. For the past 11 years, SourceMedical has earned a position on the Healthcare Informatics list of Top 100 healthcare information technology companies. For more information, please visit

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