Implementing an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system is becoming a common practice throughout the medical community. An EHR is a digital version of a patient’s paper chart, which can make information available instantly and securely to authorized users. This helps physicians and medical centers access information quicker while remaining compliant with the guidelines set by HIPAA regarding patient security. In addition, eligible providers can increase their profits through EHR incentive programs.
As healthcare continues to move toward a more digital landscape, providers may feel inclined to make a similar transition. However, many practices are unsure about getting started. The process of implementing an EHR works when you understand what your practice’s needs are. Once these needs are identified, you can form a plan with the help of your staff for successful implementation. Our tips will help your practice get ready for the process in an effort to improve and maintain your practice efficiency moving forward.
Create a plan with a detailed definition on how success can be measured once an EHR is implemented. Through this process, seek the assistance of your staff that handles the day to day operations of the front office. As the front line of your practice, they can offer some suggestions on which business aspects can benefit the most from using an EHR. Also, consider feedback from patients as a great way to gauge the patient-practice relationship. Keep in mind that creating objectives during the onset doesn’t mean that they will stay the same. Objectives can be fluid and change according to what the healthcare environment and your practice call for.
You should select an EHR based on the needs of your practice. Begin to ask yourself if the HER will accomplish everything you need to keep your practice functioning successfully. Implementing an EHR does come with a financial cost and your practice should determine a budget that works for your business. Once a budget is determined you can review how the platform’s benefits will apply to your practice. Some of the benefits of EHR implementation are the incentive programs based on Meaningful Use. These Medicare and Medicaid programs offer financial incentives to eligible providers for using EHRs to achieve goals within their practice. Other benefits can range from reducing staff and office supply expenses to reducing the amount of time your staff spends dealing with paperwork on a daily basis.
Your entire management team should be on the same page when taking on a task of this nature. Consider this a project that can be broken into smaller projects to ease the effects of transitioning. You can also begin with a small mini transition and assign an individual or team to be in charge of that process. Set a timeframe in which that can happen and once the process is proven, the full implementation can take place. Keep in mind that your practice will continue to function and assist patients during this process. Creating a plan of action to minimize confusion and delays can help alleviate the strain on your day to day operations. A simple plan of action might look something like this:
The only way to truly know if the newly implemented EHR is working for your practice is to compare your practice to itself. Choose a pre-EHR month and compare that to a full month of data as your practice stands post-EHR use. Doing this will help you review areas that need adjustment in both user controlled platforms or tech-specific sections such as EHR settings. Some sample questions to review are:
Using this review process and answering these questions about your newly implemented EHR will ultimately help create a more efficient workflow that will benefit your practice and your patients.
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