A number of health and dental organizations have successfully implemented electronic health records (EHRs). These are the organizations that are led by CEOs and professionals that have gained the experience and skills to utilize EHRs to their greatest potential. They are also the ones who can share the barriers and challenges it took to get to where they are now. The journey they took to achieve meaningful use of their EHR was not always pleasant and they offer suggestions to assist those that are seeking to implement electronic health records.
Medical providers, dentists, nurses and other health practitioners will be the heaviest users of any electronic health records. It is vitally important that they have intimate participation and understanding of any and all information technologies that will become a part of their daily lives in patient care.
“As people with busy lifestyles and lots of information to manage, we tend to be most interested in technologies that save us time, keep us organized, eliminate hassles, help us get out work done, and otherwise add to the comfort, convenience, and connectedness of our lives, no matter our location. Physicians are more likely to use technology when it has a clear benefit and is easy to learn and use” (2011).
Gaining staff acceptance may be a challenge. An EHR that is designed for clinicians to easily benefit in terms of usability, design, efficiency and workflow integration will have much more success in motivating practitioner’s engagement. When medical and dental professionals see a direct quality to patient care and practice, they are much more motivated to buy into electronic record systems.
“Many factors, such as patient expectations, organizational mandates, payer incentive programs, medical home eligibility, and practice reputation, can encourage EHR and health IT use. And there is no turning back the clock for CEOs when it comes to using health IT and EHR systems to improve quality and value” (2011).
These seasoned CEOs offer suggestions regarding transitioning to EHRs that are simple, realistic, and achievable for providers and staff alike.
“Create a culture of transparency, individual accountability, and mutual support so that when people see opportunities for improved quality and standardization they appreciate the feedback, see a realistically achievable path to desired improvements and enjoy the recognition for their achievements” (2011).
To encourage EHR use, it is critically important to make sure the electronic records work through conducting viable testing. Make sure that everyone within the organization is on board and utilizing the same software will improve success in implementation. Established champions and superusers to provide immediate and efficient assistance will prove beneficial and optimize use.
- Health care and dental executives are an important motivating factor in a successful EHR implementation that is robust, available, responsive and reliable.
- Make sure clinical and administrative staff is involved in every possible transformative step.
- Create a workable training and supportive environment.
- Make sure medical and dental professionals understand that EHR adoption is not optional.
Zaroukian, M. (2011). Driving on main street: the road to widespread physician EHR use. Frontiers of health services management, 28 (1); 35-42.