If you’ve done any research into EHR, then you probably already know that a huge portion of EHR implementations fail, many before they even hit their GoLive target date.
Why do so many implementations never make it? Well, there are several reasons. Sometimes, hospitals and clinics end up selecting an EHR vendor or system that isn’t right for them. More often, however, leaders in the clinic push for an EHR integration and GoLive before they’ve assessed whether or not their staff is actually ready for the change.
When you stop and think about it, this is a huge mistake. After all, most people instinctively resist change, no matter what kind of change it is. Change brings about new situations that are unknown. And with this unknown comes a whole host of fears and pressure that many people just don’t want to deal with. What are they afraid of?
- They fear having to learn new skills.
- They don’t want to give up old habits, or skills they’re comfortable with.
- They don’t want to feel incompetent in front of their colleagues or patients.
- They might fear the EHR system will render them irrelevant.
- They might feel pressured that they’ll have to work at a higher level with the new system.
As a result of these fears and concerns, many staffers might push back against change or show extreme reluctance to learn the new system, simply because they’re afraid.
This is why it’s so important that you assess your staff to see if they’re at least partly ready for a major implementation. After all, if you can’t get them on board chances are high your EHR implementation will be much harder than it needs to be.
1.Assess Staff Readiness
You need to closely assess your staff to see if they, and your office culture, can support such a widespread change. Think about the following questions:
- Knowing the fears the staff might be experiencing, what can I do to get them more comfortable and excited about this change?
- Does the staff work well in teams?
- Is everyone, staff and physicians alike, familiar with the goals of the clinic? Will they understand how EHR will help us accomplish those goals?
- What is the staff’s confidence level when it comes to learning and using an EHR system?
- Is our organization or clinic culture conducive to learning and team support?
- What is the staff’s level of technical skill? If your clinic is already using a patient management system (PMS) then they should make the transition to an integrated EHR system fairly easily.
2. Ask for Their Specific Concerns
One of the first things you should do is talk to your staff openly, or at least send out an anonymous survey. Find out how they really feel about an EHR implementation. Ask, specifically, what their concerns are, or give them options to choose from. The more you know how your staff views EHR, and their fears about learning a new system, the more you can do to combat these fears in the weeks and months to come.
3. Consider Conducting a Readiness Assessment
You might want to consider conducting a formal readiness assessment with your staff. If you’re already shopping for vendors, they’ll likely have several you can use in your clinic.
You could also take the Readiness Assessment Test through AmericanEHR Partners.