Posted By Monique Dever On August 21, 2015

Cleveland County Health Department Shares Proven Best Practices for a Successful Public Health EHR Implementation

Cleveland County Health Department talks about best practices of EHR implementation with Patagonia Health

As with all public health departments, Cleveland County was faced with the task of finding a usable and affordable Electronic Health Record (EHR) system. The team at Cleveland County Health Department (CCHD) wanted it done right to avoid the usual pitfalls of adopting a new system. Old habits die hard, as they say, but Alisa Leonard, Director of Nursing CCHD had more in mind. “The Federal and CMS regulations and incentives were what originally prompted us to look into purchasing an Electronic Health Record, but the opportunity to make clinics and patient care more consistent and efficient played a big role as well.” A well-planned step-by-step process led CCHD to a successful implementation.

EHR Selection Process

  • Formed Implementation Team including a project manager– to make high level decisions.
  • Formed a Super Users Group – to represent each clinic and function. Works with the Implementation team to ensure successful transition for each clinic.
  • Researched available EHR systems on the market- focused on public health EHR which were successfully deployed at a large number of local health departments.
  • Selected the top EHR vendor choices – vendors were invited to come in for a product demo – encouraged all staff to attend demos for their input.
  • Ranked each vendor using an EHR Vendor Selection Matrix – ranked for functionality, user-friendliness, daily workflows, technical support, references and pricing.
  • Did reference checks to learn more about service, on-going user focus groups and training.

“We chose Patagonia Health because it was the number one choice among our staff due to their focus on public health” said Kim Crane, RN Communicable Disease & Prevention, Cleveland County Health Department.

EHR Implementation Process

  • Conducted an in-depth workflow analysis of all clinical and clerical areas.
  • Conducted Computer Skills Assessment Surveys on all staff – trained computer skills as needed.
  • Patagonia Health provided a system which simply “works out of box” including all needed templates.
  • Decided to take a phased approach to roll-out – to minimize disruption to clinics.
  • Patagonia Health provided each user in-person on-site training in a classroom setting.
  • Created cheat sheets for common clerical and clinical functions.
  • Super Users conducted extensive mock practice sessions – to help each user get comfortable.
  • Posted notifications to inform patients in case of any slowdowns.
  • Initially cut down patient visit volume to allow staff to get used to new EHR.
  • Celebrated successes and kept team motivated throughout EHR transition.
  • Leadership provided support and held team members accountable for learning and implementation.

EHR Post Go Live
The new EHR has so many features and in the beginning users were only taking advantage of limited functionality. Thus, it was decided to continue to learn and maximize value from the new technology.

  • Super users are still routinely in touch with all users to continue to provide on-going local help on the floor.
  • Post Go Live, the Implementation team along with Patagonia Health continue to look for ways to improve and optimize workflows.
  • CCHD takes advantage of all the innovative apps to move the department to the next level.
  • CCHD participates in Patagonia Health free user focus groups and webinars.

“We implemented Patagonia Health only one year ago and we have already seen increased efficiencies in clinics” said Leonard. Crane adds “It’s been so smooth for our staff. We had worries that it would be very complicated and slowdown the processes but it has been a very smooth transition.

To learn more about best practices of EHR implementation visit our web: watch the Cleveland County Health Department video, read the full Cleveland County EHR Implementation Best Practices Case Study or download the Best Practices Presentation.

About Monique Dever

Monique integrates research and networking with her passion for health and well-being to provide important, up-to-date news, resources and current events to the public health communities. She is the Marketing Executive for Patagonia Health, an Electronic Health Records (EHR) software company focused on the public health sector.