How Not to Implement an EMR or EHR

Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Over the next few months, I will be sharing some implementation stories (nightmares) to shed some light on how you can make your own experience better. Whether you have just started looking for an EHR or you are in the implementation process it is never too late to make changes that will improve your EHR experience.

Implementing an EHR without Obtaining Administrative Support/Buy In

Mr. Brown’s (the Medical Director) clinic was in the midst of an administrative reorganization. The outgoing CEO and CFO had selected and purchased an EHR and the clinic’s staff was eager to implement as the overhead was increasing monthly.

The clinic hired a new CEO and CFO that did not share the fundamental belief that EHRs increased productivity and revenue. For “Go Live” the CEO and CFO told the staff that only one provider would use the EHR to begin with. This decision caused the clinic to become frustrated as they had to make special accommodations for the one provider that was using the EHR.  After several years, the clinic had only 5 out of 11 providers using the EHR.

The clinic had become very negative with the EHR and many of the providers felt that it was more of a hassle to use than not. After several years the clinic hired a consultant. When the consultant recognized that the EHR had not been fully implemented, the consultant asked Mr. Brown to have his staff retrained in an effort to fully implement the system. Once Mr. Brown discussed with administration the consultant’s findings; the current administration agreed all clinic staff should use the EHR. Mr. Brown found that his clinic performed well using the EHR. In less than six months the clinic’s productivity was better than it had been prior to EHR implementation.

Implementing an EHR without administrative support and commitment is extremely difficult, if not impossible. Most practices mention that a successful implementation was in part due to ensuring full administrative support and including the clinic staff in the EHR decision making process.

– Sonja Jimenez, Implementation Specialist