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Practice Fusion · Jul 8, 2014

How to implement an EHR

Implementing an electronic health record (EHR) doesn’t have to be a daunting process. With the right planning, your practice can make a smooth transition and start experiencing all the benefits of your new EHR quickly. Follow the steps below to get started:

Pick an EHR

Selecting the right EHR can improve patient outcomes and save time and money in your workflows. Make sure the EHR fits your current and future needs, is affordable, and comes with support during the setup process and beyond.

Set a go-live date

Select a date to switch over to your new EHR during a quieter time for your practice, if possible. Maybe schedule less patients for a week to give your staff time to adjust to the new system.

Some EHRs require a lot of set-up time for local servers and software, but if you’re using a web-based EHR, your go-live date can be the day you sign up.

Plan a rollout strategy

Some practices go live with only some providers on the EHR. For others, all physicians switch over on the go-live day, but don’t use all of the EHR’s features. Other practices use a web-based EHR and can have every provider go live as soon as they sign up. Regardless of your strategy, best practice is developing a roadmap to move your entire staff onto the new system to get the most out of its functionality.

Implement your rollout strategy

Define each staff member’s responsibilities in the office — such as scheduling, billing, e-prescribing, and charting — and ensure they know how to accomplish them through the new EHR. Provide resources for training, walk through different patient or practice scenarios, and ensure everyone has their questions answered.

Let your patients know you’ll be implementing a new computer system through in-office signage and notify your frequently-used labs and imaging centers, billing companies, pharmacies, and other third parties so they can connect with your EHR, if possible, and plan accordingly.

Go live

Everyone’s has a working login? Check. Your vendor knows that you’re going live and is ready to provide support? Check. Ensure your practice is ready for rollout by performing these final checks if they apply to you. On the first day your practice uses your EHR, make sure everyone has the time, resources, and support they need to complete their workflows within the new system.

Make continual improvements

What’s working? What’s not? Collect feedback from your staff and turn it into actionable changes for refining workflows and improving patient outcomes. If there’s specific issues with the way your system functions in your practice, let your EHR vendor know. The company may be able to incorporate your feedback into future releases.