Successful EHR Implementation: 7 Tips

Tag Archives: Public Health

Successful EHR Implementation: 7 Tips

successful ehr implementation tips

After you have chosen a new Electronic Health Records (EHR) solution, how do you smoothly transition to it? Follow these 7 tips for successful EHR implementation. 

Set realistic goals and expectations.

Is it realistic to think you will be paperless in 1 month? Do all of your programs need to go-live at once or is a phased approach better? What are the politics in your agency? Who is going to be the most resistant to change and maybe should not be a super user or the department to go-live first? Consider these things and set realistic objectives towards successful EHR implementation.

Keep everyone informed and involved.

Make sure your staff understands the goals for your new EHR solution and implementation timeline. Consider involving staff in the selection and implementation process also because participation increases adoption and excitement.

Keep leadership involved.

Keep leadership involved after the decision making process of selecting your EHR. Leadership should be visible, engaged with the training, open and communicative. Leadership sets the tone for the entire project and can help ensure successful EHR implementation.

Educate leaders on change management. 

Educate your leadership on change management. Like the stages of grief, there is an emotional reaction that comes from switching solutions. This should be expected and supported. Understanding the change management curve and appropriate responses will help your leadership team and staff through this process effectively. 

Be communicative with your vendor.

Be communicative and willing to work with your vendor. Seek out acceptable solutions for all involved when issues happen to be sure of a successful EHR implementation. 

Make it fun!

For go-live, consider bringing in breakfast or lunch. You can decorate the lobby.  You could also host an award ceremony at the end of the first month with awards such as: Super User in Training, Best Attitude, Most Helpful, Overcame Most Challenges, Department Most Likely to be Paperless, etc.

Evaluate training.

Before you consider your staff fully trained, assess whether your staff members have practiced multiple training scenarios and whether clinicians have dedicated time outside of their patient hours to learn the new system. Take the time to make sure all users are well versed in the new system and utilize all training available from your vendor.

Benefits of an Embedded EHR Telehealth Tool

embedded ehr telehealth tool benefits

The healthcare field is quickly moving towards using telehealth solutions to increase patient care. The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred its use with an immediate need to connect patients with clinicians virtually, and now it is here to stay. When looking for a telehealth app for your clinic, consider the benefits of using an embedded EHR telehealth tool over purchasing an external-to-EHR telehealth product. If your telehealth app is embedded into your Electronic Health Record (EHR) system you will save on time, money and frustration.

An embedded EHR telehealth tool is one that is built right into your Electronic Health Records system, requiring no separate product to login to. This creates a more streamlined workflow than having an external and separate tool to learn and incorporate. This will prevent your staff from having to make duplicate entries and juggle between two applications thereby reducing errors, saving time and reducing risk of clinician burnout. 

By using an embedded EHR telehealth tool, one-click creates the functionality you need. One selection creates the telehealth appointments (easy for scheduler staff), starts the visits (easy for provider) and allows the patient to enter the visit (easy for the patient). In the same system you can then create invoices for billing (easy for the billing staff). Changes made while using an embedded EHR telehealth tool would also update the patient’s health records instantaneously. This ensures your clinicians are viewing the latest health information and are able to make clinical documentation while still face-to-face with your patients virtually.

To stay vigilant against cyberattacks, healthcare agencies need to make cybersecurity a priority in every tool and application they use. While there are HIPAA-compliant external telehealth tools available, they can be very expensive add-ons. If you use an embedded EHR telehealth tool as part of a certified Electronic Health Record product, then you can be sure it has been evaluated for security and HIPAA compliance along with the EHR system itself. This can give you confidence that the telehealth tool you are using is a safe choice. It also prevents you from having to purchase an expensive external application.

Health agencies and clinics make bold steps towards the future of healthcare by incorporating telehealth. Telehealth tools increase patient access to the right care, at the right place, at the right time. They save patients time and money and allow clinicians to see more patients. A merged EHR telehealth solution just increases the flow of information even further and gives your team confidence in a secure product that already works within your existing Electronic Health Record workflow.

Use a Cloud-Based EHR to Reduce Costs

cloud-based ehr cost


There are two forms of Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems – systems whose servers are stored on the client side and systems whose server is hosted in the cloud. While both of these systems have immeasurable benefits over paper records, go with a cloud-based EHR to reduce costs at your healthcare agency.

SAVINGS FROM CLOUD-BASED EHR

DECREASED UPFRONT COSTS

Client-server EHRs have a high upfront cost to install, often requiring buying or leasing expensive hardware and hiring IT staff. By contrast, cloud-based EHR systems have little to no upfront cost and require no additional hardware or IT staff.

MEANINGFUL USE INCENTIVES 

Choosing a cloud-based EHR software makes Meaningful Use incentive payments a profit generator rather than a discount on the upfront costs of purchasing a new EHR. With a cloud-based EHR, by the time your monthly payments add up to the incentive benefit, your EHR should already be producing a positive return on your investment. Because client-server EHRs cost a lot upfront, it mitigates this benefit.

COST PREDICTABILITY

The cost of a client-server EHR can be unpredictable due to crashes or needing capacity upgrades. The hardware and software must be regularly tested and upgraded as needed, which requires hiring IT staff. A cloud-based EHR system has a consistent price subscription price and no maintenance or additional IT staff are required as the vendors take care of those systems for you. 

FASTER REGULATIONS COMPLIANCE 

Because government healthcare regulations change so often, updates to EHR systems are needed pretty frequently. Because client-server EHRs typically require installation by a hired IT technician, this costs time to schedule along with additional money. Cloud-based EHRs are updated automatically through the cloud; however, with no wait time, additional cost or person to hire.

EASIER TO IMPLEMENT AND SCALE

Implementing, maintaining and scaling up a client-server EHR as your practice grows can be complicated and require a lot of help from hired IT professionals. With a cloud-based EHR, however, new staff members only require access to your system via a secure website or client software installed on their machine.

MORE REVENUE COLLECTION OPTIONS

Cloud-based EHRs include interoperability that allows you to offer various payment options and methods. Because the cloud-based system can sync with multiple payers more efficiently, this expedites claims payment, improves revenue and boosts patient satisfaction. 

While both client-server and cloud-based EHRs will help your healthcare agency in the long run to manage your patient data and billing more effectively than paper solutions, cloud-based EHRs can overall more positively impact your operations budget. Be sure to consider these things when pricing out EHR solutions for your agency.

Modernize Public Health Infrastructure to Defend Against Emerging Viruses

modernize public health infrastructure

Getting back to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic would be getting back to a normal where Americans were vulnerable to that form of devastation. COVID-19 has made us aware that public health and economic prosperity are linked. The threat of emerging viruses has been, and continues to be, one of our nation’s greatest threats. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 40 public health leaders and corporate health executives met to identify and outline solutions to strengthen our nation’s response to COVID-19. They also discussed ways to move forward and protect us from other emerging viruses. They call to modernize public health infrastructure and for other changes for the betterment of American public health.

Public health experts have stated that a modernized public health infrastructure could have saved more lives from COVID-19 and protected against some of the economic fallout. They advocate that spending be reorganized to update public health technologies and data systems. They also named strengthening partnerships across sectors, effectively coordinating with the federal government, hiring more specialized healthcare workers and addressing systemic injustices as key to a more effective public healthcare system.

The roadmap outlined by these experts to improve public health includes updated technologies because these are essential in times of crisis. These data systems and the information exchanges between public health centers and immunization registries is vital to a faster and more effective response to viral threats on the American public. These data systems make sure public health workers have the information they need to make the right decisions and to employ the right strategies in response to public health emergencies. These technologies are used to track emerging threats, monitor at-risk populations, prevent disease, and promote wellness within our communities.

As public health experts work towards ending and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, they hope to ensure America is better prepared to address future public health crises. It is important not to take this pandemic as a standalone incident and to be prepared when, and not if, another virus outbreak occurs. The government has been offering more funding towards public health infrastructure of late and some legislators are moving to create mainstay funding to keep public health data systems and infrastructure continually updated.

If your public health agency has received funding to modernize your public health infrastructure and you are now in the process of shopping for a new Electronic Health Record (EHR) solution, be sure to do your due diligence and evaluate vendors. Consider those that specialize in public health and find out whether their solution will allow you to connect with immunization registries and HIEs for greater access to health information and faster response time during a public health emergency. Any tools they offer for mass vaccination will also help.

Usability versus Learnability in EHR User Interface

Usability Learnability EHR User Interface

When choosing a User Interface (UI) for your Electronic Health Records (EHR) solution, be sure to consider usability vs learnability in the system design. While there is a relationship between these terms, there is always a tension between being easy-to-use versus easy-to-learn and UI’s often sacrifice one over the other in terms of design. A great system has a bit of both, however. It is important to find the right balance between usability and learnability to make your EHR, user experience the best fit for your needs.

Usability is a term that references whether a user can accomplish their goal within a system or app. Learnability focuses on the usability aspects needed for users to more easily learn how to use a system or app. A software or application that is easy-to-use will require some training, documentation and manuals to study but the system can be learned and used for its intended purposes. A software or application that is easy-to-learn will not require outside training or reading documentation and is easy to understand and use right away. Being easy-to-learn does not imply a system or app will be easier to use later on, however. There may be menus of instructions built within the system or app to guide a user through that make a system easy-to-learn and use right away that can become tedious if your system is used over and over by users, making those prompts unnecessary. 

An easy-to-learn system or app is the best fit for novices or occasional users. When your healthcare agency is adopting a patient portal, you have to consider how infrequently patients access it. It is important that the navigation be very intuitive for patients to use right away without outside training and instruction manuals. Your daily-use EHR and billing systems can be a bit more complex, however.

Whether a system or app is designed to be easy-to-learn or easy-to-use, there are universal factors in UI design that will make it overall more successful. Being learnable still is a factor in usability and is how these terms are related. As such, make sure your EHR user interface is easy enough to learn for your staff even if you are providing training. These universal UI design factors include:

  • The intended user understands the user interface and finds it logical.
  • The system or app is consistent in the use of design patterns.
  • The users always feel in control.
  • The users always understand where they are, how they got there, and how to get back.

Having a good user experience ensures your patients and staff do not find your EHR more burdensome than helpful. Balancing usability versus learnability in EHR user interfaces and making sure your product has an overall successful user interface with good design principles is key to avoiding digital burnout.