Nobody would argue that the implementation phase of EMR is the most crucial step in the entire HIT (health information technology) process. The redesign of your practice workflow is centered on good communication between the physician, staff, and vendors. The investment for this program is large both in actual dollars and time spent adapting and learning essential programs and procedures.
An “implementation gap” is common once your vendor completes the set-up for your EMR. Managed implementations are certainly more successful and can be handled in the office setting with very little downtime. By talking regularly with your vendor, the practice can avoid some of the pitfalls that others have experienced.
Most on-site training will be intensive sessions that allow your staff to start working with the software on their own. Allow for follow up sessions in two weeks and collect questions for the trainer so that all can be answered for the whole staff. The training should be instructional to foster self-reliance.
Communicate to your vendor how you want a uniform format for documentation. One of the excellent features of an EMR is that they can simplify documentation through the use of templates. Templates save the provider time by structuring patient encounters and reducing the need for narrative. They can also promote more accurate coding and billing of services. A uniform format allows the development of a single set of templates that everyone uses which in the end makes it easier to code services and generate reports. They can provide a level of clarity that justifies the more frequent use of higher-level codes. A customized approach can have an enormous impact to the doctor’s daily workflow.
Moving Records from Paper to EMR
Most practices will initially be living with an electronic system that combines data from electronic and paper records. Some historic records should be entered manually, (problem lists, medication lists). But by scanning portions of the chart, the office can incorporate these handwritten documents into the EMR. There are methods that we have discussed in this post before and every office differs in their approach.
We sometimes recommend having pertinent information from paper charts summarized, scanned, and then entered into the EMR. Having a good migration plan worked out in advance will keep the project moving forward and contribute to the success of your implementation.
Iron Comet Consulting is a Mckesson Platinum certified reseller, medical IT firm and medical billing service based in Stockbridge, Georgia. Our products combine the clinical with the financial to improve workflow and revenue capture. Mckesson’s Medisoft Clinical is a complete physician practice optimization solution. For more information, please visit http://www.ironcomet.com