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10 strategies for successful EHR implementations

Implementing electronic health records (EHR) is no easy task, but there are key lessons learned from successful implementations that can ensure success.

Allscripts Sunrise™ clients have shared tips about how they’ve implemented EHR projects on time, on budget and with the outcomes they expected. Here are a few tips I’ve gleaned from clients who know best:

1  It all starts with strong leadership

An EHR implementation requires a massive amount of change, which is never easy. But if the leadership team supports the project, it will be easier to motivate and align the team to the organization’s goals. Leaders at the highest level need to visibly and consistently reinforce the message that failure is not an option.

2. Focus on outcomes – Understand the WHY

Driving change is much easier when clinicians understand “the why.”  It is critical to articulate what outcomes you are trying to achieve, which helps with all decisions throughout the project.  Don’t forget to take a baseline measurement, so you can prove the return on investment you anticipated.

3. Make deployment the top priority

Your team must understand that an EHR implementation is the most important transformation project happening. Prioritize the deployment, and avoid the temptation to under-resource the content build, system design, training and support to save money.

4. Must be a clinically driven project

An EHR implementation is not just another IT project. Successful implementations engage clinicians from the very beginning and at every step along the way to help ensure the EHR meets their needs.

5. Optimize, don’t just automate, existing workflows

Once you understand the outcomes you are trying to drive, look at how you can optimize your workflows and configure the system to drive those outcomes. Review workflows across the entire community, not just within specific venues of care for specific clinicians.

6, Test thoroughly

It’s really important to test products before going live, which provides the opportunity to catch problems and address concerns. These are issues you don’t have to experience that in a live environment.

7. Plan for ongoing transformation

It is unrealistic to expect a perfect EHR configuration before launching. Start with a solid foundation that you can continue to evolve and optimize. It is an extension of an organization’s commitment to continuous improvement.

8. Train on new workflows, not features and functions

Don’t just train clinicians on specific modules of the system, but rather focus on the outcomes you are trying to achieve, new workflows to support those efforts and how the system supports those workflows.

 9. Offer multiple training options

When it comes to training on a new EHR, one size doesn’t fit all. Our clients often offer a combination of e-learning and role-based classroom training. Teams also engage clinicians as “super users” to build in-house capacity for after the rollout.

10. Don’t reinvent the wheel

Optimizing an EHR is simple when you can easily adopt best practices from other organizations. Allscripts Client Outcomes Collaboration Program (COCP) features ready-to-use tool kits with workflows and clinical performance management (CPM) reports associated with outcomes proven successful by Sunrise clients. One of the most active users, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (Boone, North Carolina, U.S.A), has adopted several tool kits.

Implementation experiences are as different as the organizations who have them. What tips would you add to this list?

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