Posted By Monique Dever On September 3, 2015
Making the shift to Electronic Health Records (EHR), has vast benefits for both providers as well as patients. However, as with any new process, the transition is often wrought with trial and error, and finding things out the hard way, whether it be a Title X agency or any other type of health care center. As each type of agency has its specific services, the transition will create a unique set of circumstances.
Funded by the Office of Population Affairs (OPA), the Family Planning National Training Center for Management and Systems Improvements (NTC-MSI) interviewed various Title X agencies who had already implemented an EHR. With information shared by these agencies, NTC-MSI identified best practices and lessons learned, and compiled an implementation guideline for others to follow.
- Seek a Title X agency mentor.
- Choose a project leader.
- Identify a vendor that will meet all of your needs.
- If you are providing Title X services, make sure that your vendor includes Family Planning Annual Report FPAR all built in. A simple click should produce FPAR report.
- Be ready for the future. Make sure that your EHR vendor is already working with OPA to move to upcoming Family Planning Annual Report 2.0. If your EHR has not already participated in IHE connection in January 2015, chances are you are going to struggle with FPAR 2.0.
- Make sure that the EHR you select meets state Title X reporting requirements including Ahlers reporting. You do want your EHR vendor to electronically send Ahlers reports.
- Make sure that the EHR you purchase “works out of the box” and does not require a lot of effort by your IT and clinicians to build your own EHR i.e. it is not a DIY EHR.
- Understand pricing structure – find a vendor that has no “hidden costs.”
- It is focused on family planning, is easy to use and learn.
Implementation of Title X EHR
- Provide extensive training for staff early on
- Use a “phased” implementation approach
- Schedule hands-on mock clinics before go-live
- Double check data elements for reporting
- Have an “EHR Champion” – this can be internal or from another Title X Agency
- Communicate frequently with all staff
- Your staff is good at what they do but need help to transition to electronic charting. Be supportive: provide resources (training and time to learn), encouragement, and assist with computer training (as needed).
- Support your staff though the transition, however, hold your staff accountable for learning and transition. Let them know that going back to paper is not an option.
- Share EHR best practices
- Expect disruption – there will be staff who embrace the new technology and others who will not
- Expect everything to take longer than you expect
- For success, stay the course, despite hurdles and hiccups
EHR benefits realized by the Title X agencies include an improved ability to report and pull data easily and quickly, receive Meaningful Use incentives, and an increase in third-party revenue. This all helps toward your goals of high-quality care and improved health outcomes for Title X recipients.