Why Clinicians are Key to a Smooth EHR Implementation

When it comes time to implement a new EHR solution, one that your executive team feels will have wide spread benefits for the entire hospital, what kind of response does it engender from clinicians? Are they throwing these kinds of laurels in the direction of the new tool?

“This new EHR system is going to change your life. Shorter more fluid workflows. No more hide-and-seek with data. Global visibility of patient traffic. Happier patients. Better tasting free coffee from the breakroom.”

The last part may have been a bit hyperbole, but this is the kind of enthusiasm that gives legs to an EHR implementation process, ensures it’s fine-tuned to a hospital’s workflow, and helps executives and vendors avoid many of the complications that come with introducing a new system. When that enthusiasm comes from a clinical champion, they become a hospital CEO’s biggest asset in creating a smooth implementation landscape that minimizes pitfalls.

So how can you find these champions? What needs to happen to turn those people from bystanders, into highly engaged, valuable EHR implementation assets?

The EHR Champion – Your Clinicians 

An EHR implementation advocate is usually someone who is going to have the most hands-on experiences with the solution once it goes live. From helping to select a product to taking part in presentations, these people should be involved early and often. Their feedback and participation from discovery to training to testing is critical to minimizing stress and potential errors during the entire implementation process.

An article from Healthcare IT News, outlining the top 10 steps to HIT implementation listed creating “a culture of collaboration and partnership” as the first move to ensuring success.

As seen in analysis of clinical HIT implementations, a vital part of customizing an EHR solution and its implementation into a hospitals is making sure the clinical workflows run smoothly. If clinicians and administrators, or representatives familiar with the specific challenges of that hospital or hospital system, are absent from these early stages it can quickly sabotage progress and waste the time of everyone involved.

Get Help From Someone Who Knows – The EHR Implementations Team

Getting advocacy starts with empathy. An implementations team familiar with the challenges faced by most clinicians can be helpful in this area.

At MEDHOST, 80% of our clinical implementations team members have backgrounds in the practical applications of healthcare—nurses, paramedics, admissions, etc. They bring an understanding of how much an inadequate system can impair optimal care delivery.

A knowledgeable and empathetic implementations team will help hospital leadership identify potential clinicians who can offer structural and executable support during implementations. One we way accomplish this is by creating a steering committee made up of hospital members and MEDHOST implementations specialists. Together that group makes informed decisions on how to move forward, using established objectives for adoption to drive the process. In some instances, we have seen the clinicians themselves as the catalyst for change, which makes this selection process even easier to garner an empathetic team.

With an understanding of why things are not working based on relatable experience and full transparency from hospital leadership, clinicians, and EHR vendors, clinician advocacy gets your implementation headed in the right direction.

Read the Room – The Role of Key EHR Solution Advocates 

Most people might be wary of outsiders trying to push the benefits of change on them—especially in healthcare. An impassioned and excited team of key EHR solution advocates, directly connected to the people who will be most affected by this change, stand as invaluable resources for executives and EHR implementations specialists alike.

These individuals can offer a clearer understanding of hospital staff challenges and help implementers tailor presentations, reports, and proposed workflows to match those needs.

Advocates can often be classified into roles to see how they can best help implementations move forward. Non-exhaustive list of roles can include:

  • Information liaisons
  • Timeline and project managers
  • Workflow integration consultants
  • Early beta testers
  • Superusers and training staff
  • Internal team support

Of course, a truly sympathetic EHR solutions provider knows clinicians still have a job to do. Being a clinician champion should not take away from their core responsibility of getting patients back to good health.

Clinician engagement is just one piece of a bigger process that calls for open communication on all sides, flexibility, and customization to a hospital’s unique workflow. Hospitals need an EHR provider who is willing and ready to listen to each individual need and comes well-equipped with implementations support personnel who can relate.

Learn about how MEDHOST’s implementations team can help you find your clinician champions and help guarantee a smooth transition to a more integrated EHR system.

Further Reading:

VIDEO: Streamlining ED Workflow: How MEDHOST EDIS Helped Optimize Patient-Centered Care at Springhill Medical Center

Podcast: Implementing Healthcare IT Through True Partnership with Doug Allen

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