According to Health and Human Services (HHS), there are more than 100,000 primary care providers adopting the use of EHR. This is more than one-third of total primary care providers in this country. There’s no doubt that this is a major shift towards 100% adoption by 2014. And, all of these providers are working with their Regional Extension Center (REC) to make sure they’re meeting Meaningful Use Criteria.
Of course, that still leaves two-thirds of primary-care physicians behind the wagon, so to speak. Many of these providers are likely still in the investigation stage. Or, they might be waiting until after the busy winter holiday season to start the EHR implementation process.
Whether you’re in the process of transitioning to EHR, or you’re still on the fence about jumping in for 2012, you still might be worried that the process isn’t going to go as smoothly as you hoped. And there’s no doubt that going from paper to electronic files is a big move!
I’ve written several posts about the EHR transition, and offered up some tips to help the process be a bit less bumpy. Here are several more that you might find useful!
1. Get Physicians Involved
Yes, physicians are incredibly busy. And it’s really tempting to let them skip out on training so they can continuing seeing patients. However, this is a really big mistake. Your physicians, all of them, should go through the EHR training just like everyone else on your staff. In the long run, this will save the clinic as a whole time, money, and stress.
2. Reduce Patient Load
It’s important to plan your GoLive early. You first need to pick a date for your clinic’s GoLive. And, you need to make sure you reduce your patient load by at least 25% during the first two weeks. Yes, this will add to the cost of your implementation but trust me, you’ll be grateful you did. There’s no such thing as a “perfect” GoLive; lightening your workload during this critical time will reduce the stress and burdon on everyone, including your patients.
3. Go Slowly
One of the best things you can do is to ease your physicians into EHR slowly. Don’t ask them to memorize every little detail of every function. Instead, start with the basic functions they’ll use every day and leave it at that. Most people find it much easier to build their knowledge and skills with EHR over time.
You could also consider just letting your physicians meet the very minimum requirements of Meaningful Use at first, and then build up their skills in the months after GoLive.
4. Promote a Staff Member for Oversight
Your clinical staff will likely use the EHR the most. But, no one is perfect, and like as not there will be essential steps that are missed, or done incorrectly.
You can increase your chances of success if you promote someone on your clinical staff to oversee the correct use of the EHR system. This could be a nurse or PA who catches on to the ins and outs of EHR quickly; having them oversee the rest of the staff could help nip problems in the bud, and catch mistakes before they become costly errors or ingrained bad habits.