A full 30 percent of “new” EHR purchases are actually replacements, according to a 2013 Black Book Rankings survey. If your organization has decided to make the switch to another vendor, change management can help you successfully transition while minimizing the risk of another failure.
An Informed Decision
Understanding the failings of your existing EHR can help prevent the same mistakes from recurring. Keep these flaws -- and strategies to avoid them -- in mind as you select a new system. Prior to the EHR selection process, clearly define your expectations. After all, it’s easier to determine if a particular vendor meets your needs if you know what your needs are. Also, be sure to thoroughly consider the features offered by each vendor, as well as certifications and other indications of expertise.
And remember, it’s not just about the functionality of the system; the implementation itself is a factor. From staff training investment to the degree to which your workflow will be interrupted, thinking through these details in advance can prevent future trouble.
Manage Your Expectations...And Your Data
An essential component in managing change is managing your own expectations: EHR replacement is a complex and time-consuming process. Don't expect it to happen overnight: in reality, the transition can take months to complete. Maintaining a long term perspective can help you navigate the ongoing changes during this extended period of time.
But your expectations aren’t the only ones that matter. In order to position your organization for the most seamless transition, it’s important to acknowledge the human element by actively courting staff support to promote organizational buy-in and optimize outcomes. Create a positive climate by communicating a vision and sense of necessity: how will workflow and quality of care improve with your new EHR?
The more informed your staff is, the more empowered they’ll be as participants in the process. Vendor demonstrations, staff meetings, and open lines of communication can all contribute to staff engagement. Patients should also be informed promptly about changes.
While going through another round of training may elicit some groans, remind your staff that the process will move much quickly this time because they’ll already have a basic understanding of the implementation process.
Data conversion is a realistic concern when switching between EHRs, but there are some approaches to help minimize risk during the migration process. Don’t discard your old system yet: it can be of value while you work out the kinks in your new EHR or if patient information needs to be quickly recovered.
Ultimately, it pays to think of the conversion process as an opportunity: use the transition to to clean up your data by archiving outdated or extraneous information.
A Closer Look at ROI
It’s also essential to accept that the deployment of new technology comes at an upfront cost. While mindful planning and diligent execution can help contain these costs, It’s much easier to accept this investment when you view your new EHR as an asset rather than an expense.
A Team Effort
From helping you maintain regulatory compliance to offering techniques for fostering connectivity with your staff, patients, labs, hospitals and other providers, your replacement EHR vendor is your new best friend when it comes to implementing best practices before, during and after your EHR replacement. A strong, multidisciplinary project team is also an essential component in planning and implementation phases.
And speaking of after, don’t neglect post-implementation follow-up. As your organization continues to grow, so will its needs: adequate monitoring can help your EHR keep up with the changes.
White switching your EHR can be a daunting enterprise, a functional system offers profound benefits, including increased efficiency, accuracy and workflow; decreased administrative errors and redundancies; empowered staff members; and more engaged patients. The ultimate result? An exponentially enhanced standard of care.
To learn more about managing your EHR system replacement, contact the experts at RevenueXL today.
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