Preparations for EMR – Steps to Success

David Bowie’s classic song “Changes” has a line which states “Every time I thought I had it made, it seems the taste was not so sweet then when a medical practice embarks on an EMR implementation, similar feelings can exist.  I have learned that these large initiatives must follow some level of organization that leads to a successful outcome.

There are numerous change models available, from Jick’s tactical 10-step model for implementing change as well as General Electric’s 7-step change acceleration process model.  Not a bad place to start.  Your practice along with your vendor should find the best strategy for your particular office culture.

Here are some guidelines and questions to help you get started:

Is your budget practical?

EMR systems cost money.  There is the software, hardware, training and office downtime.  A practical budget with some contingencies should be included in your planning.

Are you prepared for some difficulties?

Adding an entirely new computer system to the daily work of busy medical professionals is asking them to change the way they do their work.  The status quo will be different and that is very challenging.  Anytime you have major changes there will be new initiatives that involve additional policies and processes.  It’s important to get everyone involved, have some fun with it and make the adoption something to look forward to.

Physician support is key

It’s important that all the doctors support the EMR initiative.  They need to be ready to engage in the project and support the transition effort.  Leadership is important in any organization but it is imperative that the provider is on board.

Get paper records ready

Reorganize the chart by maintaining a reliable face sheet to start.  You should have a general chart cleanup so that only the most important aspects are scanned into the EMR.  Insurance companies like a five year record, so keep that in mind.

Help your vendor with the templates

Making templates that fit your workflow is a must.  Help your vendor design the template that mirrors your typical patient.  Too many clicks slows down a provider trying to get the information into an EMR.  A good IT specialist will assist in this endeavor.

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


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