Once EMR implementation has been completed within your practice, making the best use of it is vital to its success, as well as to ensuring that you are able to take advantage of its many features. All too often, practitioners begin using EMR without taking the proper steps that are necessary to give the system the chance to work well for them. There are many things you can do, even before you begin using EMR that will prove to be effective at helping you head off many problems you might encounter down the road.
Training Your Staff
Whenever any new system is introduced into a medical practice, training is essential. Whether that new system is a new telephone system, or electronic medical records, it's crucial to prepare your staff ahead of time, in order to make the transition as easy as possible. Quite honestly, there is no EMR system out there that is so self-explanatory that it requires little to no prior training or preparation. There's also no system that is completely free of glitches or problems. Your staff should know the system very well, as well as be able to identify any problems that come up and how to address them. This will ensure that the workflow in your practice isn't slowed down too much in the beginning weeks after EMR implementation. Every EMR system will also need to be periodically updated, so ongoing training is a must. There is a plethora of new updates being thrown at systems today which will keep your staff on their feet. Conducting yearly trainings are a great way to ensure that your staff knows about all system updates and are great refreshers.
One of the goals in EMR implementation is to increase the efficiency of your practice. Because of the automation of many of the tasks your staff is now doing in paper charts by hand, you will find that it's necessary to do a reassessment of work your staff does on a daily basis. While it some instances that could mean eliminating positions, many practitioners find that they're able to simply reassign some job duties to other staff members in an effort to provide staff with more support. For example, if your billing person has never worked with EMR before, it might be beneficial for you to add an additional biller within your practice to compensate for the slower billing pace while the system is being learned. Preparing ahead of time will help you to prepare to make these types of necessary staffing changes.
Remaining HIPAA compliant is, of course, a priority for your medical practice. However, as you prepare for EMR implementation, it's advised that you consult with a specialist to ensure that your system has all of the requirements to remain compliant. Taking the steps to train all of your staff members in HIPAA compliance with your new EMR software, as well as setting up protocols and individual passwords are important steps that you should take as soon as possible. A professional will be able to advise you about any changes you might need to make to remain compliant and avoid any problems being found by a government audit.
EMR implementation can be a very long process. However, you'll find that as long as you're prepared for any problems that might occur, you make the proper staffing adjustments, and you remain in compliance with HIPAA regulations, the transition doesn't have to be a painful one. Your practice will be able to see some incredible benefits from using EMR, and you'll find your patients appreciate the changes as well.