Anyone who spends time around a computer knows that computers and information technology – IT – is not intuitive. Major changes in your use of computers – a new practice management systems, expansion of the use of IT support, or the installation of an HER system – all require planning, time and support for a successful project. There will be problems, there will be delays and frustrations – it comes with the territory. The end result, we expect, will make all of the effort worthwhile.
An article yesterday from Computerworld reported on sessions from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) meeting, where several speakers addressed successful implementation of EHR systems. One of the best lessons was the team of red jacket techs who were on site for the first several weeks after the installation to help people with difficulties. Ohio State University Medical Center CIO Herb Smaltz pointed out that training is very important, but many people will need assistance to help them through the initial use. Several other important lessons were shared at the meeting:
· conduct hands-on tests of multiple EMR applications before selecting one.
· organizations that do quick implementations of EMR systems with deep functionality will recover from start-up financial and productivity losses faster than those that move slowly to lessen the impact of such a cultural change.
· IT must work closely with physicians and staff members before, during and after the move to EHR
· organizations that do quick implementations of EHR systems with deep functionality will recover from start-up financial and productivity losses faster than those that move slowly to lessen the impact of such a cultural change.
A number of years ago, I was running a good sized ambulatory care center in a large urban hospital. This was before the spread of personal computers, so none of the staff had any computer experience. As we got ready to install a computer based management system, we had to train all of the staff to use the computer. We also had to change some of our processes in order to conform with the system. In the end, the installation and conversion went very well. Staff who were initially timid about using computers quickly became confident and comfortable – it was very interesting to watch the change.
Lessons well learned to apply when your time comes.