Involving the Whole Practice in Software Selection

As a believer in the team approach to dental software and electronic health record selection and implementation, I am constantly on the lookout for stories of practices that have had issues because they did not follow a proven process. Doing things the right way, the first time, saves stress, energy and money. If you’re looking for guidance on software selection, check out my article at Dental Products Report on Team Software Selection that involves all software users.

Twice, a practice brought me in after purchasing an EHR, to try to figure out why implementation wasn’t going along as planned. They were wondering why there were so many issues and some staff members were complaining. Now, there are a number of reasons why an implementation has issues or is not successful. In both cases, there were two main reasons, and unfortunately, they both were on the practice side, not the vendor’s.

In the first case, when it came time for the providers to get involved with the implementation from a clinical aspect, they were too busy with patients. They didn’t make time to give the vendor what was requested in a timely basis, and therefore the implementation was somewhat held in limbo. The administrative and clinical staff had worked with the vendor on their pieces of the implementation, but providers apparently were just too busy. When this was noticed, and the providers did finally engage with the vendor and the rest of the team, the implementation went more smoothly. Everyone needs to have a stake in the outcome, and to understand that taking the time to engage is crucial to success.

In the second case, the cause was a little more difficult to determine, but I was able to discern that issues in an implementation actually stemmed back from the fact that there were some staff members that were ignored during the initial evaluation and selection process. In this case, because they were purchasing an EHR, a perceived clinical tool, the providers and office manager assumed that input from the administrative staff wasn’t necessary.

However, they were actually purchasing an integrated EHR and practice management system and the decisions on practice management features were as important as those of the EHR features. So, upon implementation of the EHR, there was a new practice management system installed as well. What I found out was that the administrative staff needs weren’t taken into consideration, and when time came for implementation they were less than enthusiastic in terms of helping out. In fact, there were constant complaints about how the new practice management system wasn’t as good as the old one in this was very counterproductive. This could have been avoided if the administrative staff had been part of the evaluation and selection of the new integrated EHR and practice management system.

Read the full article on team involvement in software selection here.

Uretz, Michael. (2014) Electronic Health Records selection for the dental practice…the ultimate team sport. Dental Practice Management, March 11. Last Accessed 3/14/2014: http://practicemanagement.dentalproductsreport.com/technology/electronic-health-records-selection-dental-practice-ultimate-team-sport