Change opens up new possibilities as well as interesting, sometimes frustrating, hurdles for an organization to overcome. The followings tips can help providers from various healthcare settings make EHR implementation a more seamless process during its setup.
Addressing potential EHR hurdles early on minimizes the need for healthcare providers to deal with an array of system issues later on. Establishing realistic expectations of a new system’s capabilities is especially helpful when seeking an EHR system that optimizes a practice’s daily functions.
Frankly, some EHR systems are just too complicated to navigate through. Busy private practices and overloaded clinics and hospitals have little time set aside to learn how a new system works from A-Z. Multiple screens and menus and unclear navigational steps wastes time and creates havoc for physicians and nurses trying to process their patients’ medical notes. Without fully understanding how to use an EHR program, the productivity of medical staff will inevitably go down.
There are several technical hurdles that can prevent EHR implementation from taking place. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), healthcare providers located in rural areas experience more difficulty trying to implement EHR due to connectivity issues than their urban counterparts. Other healthcare providers who may be older, belong to a specific region or who are not computer savvy may be reluctant to switch from paper to digital records if they feel that their present method is better.
Privacy has always been an issue with the handling of medical records handling for patients and providers alike, especially when it involves digital implementation. Although retrieving paper records from a file cabinet or box may be tedious, this form of record keeping never leaves providers open to lawsuits or violates patient privacy due to cyber-attacks. Privacy concerns associated with EHRs are unauthorized records access, record tampering or the loss of data due to a manmade or natural disaster.
Small to mid-size practices may find investing in the infrastructure, personnel, training and support required to install and maintain an EHR system a huge barrier. Furthermore, many physicians have anxiety over seeing less patients while investing a huge amount of time and money during EHR implementation.
Overcoming EHR Challenges
Unless a healthcare setting has people willing enough to tackle various challenges that EHR implementation may bring, it will likely prove more difficult to launch it successfully. Here are a few tips providers can follow to make their transition over to digital health records implementation easier.
Tip 1: A strategic plan for implementing EHRs should include a set timeline for addressing potential barriers, facilitating communication, and training. Create a budget that clearly shows any associated costs to add these into an EHR investment. Factor in security risks when choosing security policies during EHR implementation.
Tip 2: Providers need to choose an EHR system that can be customized to unique aspects of their practice via templates. An EHR system with cloud-based services allows providers to get paid more for their patient care in a much shorter time. Moreover, choosing an EHR system that is user-friendly maximizes productivity among work staff.
Tip 3: Rural community hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs) can utilize cloud computing technologies that ensure excellent staff support not present in the local community and that reduces upfront investments, including IT costs and EHR hardware. Instead of seeking funding from local banks, CAHs and rural community hospitals can apply for grants and loans from the HRSA and other government and non-profit organizations to purchase and adopt EHR systems. They can also turn to national and local lenders who extend credit offers and loans for EHR systems in the private sector.