Learn How to Manage a Successful EMR Implementation
Whether you are considering an EMR for the first time or thinking of replacing your current software, EMR implementation can make or break the successful adoption by providers. This is especially critical when a provider is enrolling in one of the CMS EHR Incentive Programs. If a provider is not able to (or doesn’t want to) meaningfully use an EMR, the chance of securing incentive reimbursements is greatly reduced. Review the tips below to help you plan for a successful EMR implementation. Also, consider downloading our FREE EMR Implementation White Paper to help you plan a successful launch, adoption and meaningful use of EMR.
Don’t delay when selecting an EMR
Time is of the essence when dealing with Meaningful Use. Whether selecting and EMR for the first time or looking for replacement software, selecting an EMR vendor in a timely manner will allow for the required time to successfully manage the implementation project, ensure training in Meaningful Use features specific to that software and allow time for providers to monitor their success with meaningfully using the EMR.
Select an EMR to meet the specialty’s needs and objectives
Selecting an EMR that meets every need of a healthcare organization can be challenging. Selecting an EMR that every provider will want to use is even more daunting. Opt for an EMR that is easy to use yet powerful. An EMR shouldn’t be rocket science. While enterprise-wide systems have the bells and whistles built in for large hospitals and healthcare systems, those bells and whistles may prove to be overkill for physician practices, with the result of confusing users with unnecessary functionality. And, with the variance in how each specialty practices medicine, it’s hard to find any one system that meets the needs of all. Look for an EMR that has flexible content and functionality, meets the needs and workflow of your specialty and that will help achieve your organizational objectives.
Select an EMR that will help achieve meaningful use objectives
With 580 ONC-ATCB 2014 Edition Certified complete EMR products on the market today (and hundreds more products outside of these credentials), providers have the daunting task of selecting a software that will not only meet their specialty workflow needs, but that is also committed to ensuring it will have the required functionality through all the stages of Meaningful Use. The software is just Part 1 of the story. Providers should also look to partner with an EMR vendor that has an integrated, strong practice management software, established implementation and training programs and a reputation for providing ongoing support and product upgrades. Contact vendors to request initial demos to determine if it is a fit for your specialty as well as your organizational size, type and objectives.
Plan. Plan. Plan for implementation.
EMR implementation is a commitment in itself. Achieving Meaningful Use, whether to gain incentives or avoid penalties, requires that the commitment be even stronger. From the front office staff to the EMR implementation project manager to the providers, physician assistants and nursing staff, everyone should have input in designing the new electronic workflows that will help the organization be more efficient and ensure achievement of Meaningful Use.
Work with your EMR vendor to design tailored implementation and training programs based on your specialty and your individual organization’s needs. Also keep in mind to never underestimate the value of training in EMR implementation and ongoing use. EMR is the tool, but would you buy a rocket ship without knowing how to fly it? The consequences could be monumental. To insure best use of an EMR, it is important to appoint designated EMR Champions in the organization that will be responsible for helping others train, adopt and consistently use the EMR, meaningfully. If a Practice Administrator or another non-provider staff member is in place to lead the EMR implementation, consider also enlisting a Provider Champion to ensure the needs of the entire office are met.
Monitor. Monitor. Monitor provider meaningful use.
No provider wants to face a situation in which they assumed they were correctly using the EMR to meet Meaningful Use requirements only to learn that they are not able to attest to meaningfully using the EMR when it comes time to request a reimbursement. How can this situation be avoided? With a well-planned implementation and the establishment of consistent, periodic monitoring. Determine which requirements are being met and which are not. Devise a correction plan to achieve those requirements not being met. Retrain staff as needed. Enlist super users to help train others. Monitor again. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
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