In theory, EMR software is supposed to create efficiencies and make your medical practice run more smoothly.
But in reality it doesn't always work out that way. Why? Because partners and decision-makers often fail to consider the implementation phase when they select a new EMR platform.
The implementation phase actually begins during the selection process. In order for your EMR application to be a success everyone in your practice has to be mentally invested in it. If you devalue key staff members' input during selection, it will be difficult to convince them to buy in later on.
Assuming you've cleared the first hurdle (staff input), there are several mistakes you'll still need to avoid as you transition to the new system. Unfortunately, any one of these mistakes has the potential be deadly so it's important to stay on top of the process.
- Implementing the wrong platform. The most deadly EMR mistake you can make is to rush through the selection process without fully considering the scope of functions your software needs to achieve. No amount of preparation in the world can compensate for a platform that doesn't deliver the required outcomes. Take your time, solicit advice and make an informed decision.
- Insufficient training. Attempting to implement a new EMR solution without training your staff is a fast track to a dysfunctional medical practice. Most medical practices are chaotic enough. When you add the burden of a brand new software application that no one knows how to use, it can be the straw that breaks the camels back. Make sure your EMR provider will provide enough training to get your practice up and running quickly.
- Lack of a plan. During implementation, information is your friend. The creation of a fair and reasonable implementation plan that is clearly communicated to all of your staff will dramatically reduce the anxiety level most offices experience when they adopt a new solution.
- Exaggerated claims. In an effort to sell the solution to partners and staff, practitioners/owners sometimes make exaggerated claims, e.g. that the solution will magically reduce everyone's workload. In fact, there's a good chance that the EMR software will actually increase staff workload, at least during the transition period.
- No data conversion plan. When you implement a new EMR platform you also have to consider how you will convert existing patient and practice data into the system. If your provider is unable to assist you with this process, make alternate arrangements or jump ship for a vendor who can.