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Three Tips For EHR Transitions

Posted on May 20, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. Contact her at @ziegerhealth on Twitter or visit her site at Zieger Healthcare.

Moving a medical practice from paper to an EHR is no picnic.  Staff and physicians both may find the process difficult, and the changes they have to make to be threatening. But there are approaches you can take which can make the process easier.  Here’s a nice triad of suggestions from EHR implementation manager Amanda Guerrero:

* Make workflow changes gradual:

Too often, medical practices assume that they can implement an EHR without making major changes to their workflow.  The reality is, however, that many processes which worked fine on paper don’t work when you switch to using EHRs, Guerrero notes. So how do you go about making changes without upsetting and confusing staff and clinicians?  The idea, she says, is to make sure changes happen gradually. Giving people time to adapt to changes helps a lot with staff morale. (It doesn’t hurt to explain how the changes will benefit both staff and patients, either.)

Ask for feedback:

Bearing in mind that changes to workflow will have to be made, how do you choose which changes come first? One way, Guerrero says, is to ask the people who are using the EHR which processes are slowing things down the most.  Be sure, she recommends, to include doctors, nurses, front desk and even billing staff in collecting feedback — after all, virtually any part of the practice can be affected by the EHR.  Once you’ve figured out which areas are the most troublesome, arrange them in order of importance so you can take them on in the most effective manner.

Educate patients:

Now that Meaningful Use has pushed practices into making patient health data available to them, it’s time to encourage them to use it. That being said, patients may be overwhelmed by the amount of data being presented, especially when interpreting lab results, Guerrero suggests.  To reduce the impact of this change on patients, and avoid confusion, make sure you help them understand what they’re looking at and how it can help them improve their healthy, she says. And make sure let patients know you’re available to help answer questions.

101 Tips to Make Your EMR and EHR More Useful – EHR Tips 16-20

Posted on December 13, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Time for the next entry covering Shawn Riley’s list of 101 Tips to Make your EMR and EHR More Useful. I met someone at a conference who commented that they liked this series of posts. I hope you’re all enjoying the series as well.

20 Data collaboration is key to patient safety
I think this tip might need to be worded, “Data collaboration should be key to patient safety.” Unfortunately, it’s a mostly unrealized dream at this point. You might even be able to say that data collaboration will be key to patient safety. There really are amazing use cases where data collaboration can improve the care patients receive. It’s a sad state of affairs that so many of the major EHR companies are dead set on protecting their walled gardens. One has even gone so far as to say that patient safety is in danger with multiple systems. Certainly there are some risks associated with multiple systems, but the benefits far outweigh the risks. In fact, patient safety is at stake thanks to those who won’t participate in healthcare data collaboration.

19 Know how customizable the clinical work flows are!
This is a good tip when doing your EMR selection. It’s incredibly valuable to understand how the EMR handles clinical workflows and how well those workflows fit into your established clinical workflows. I’m a proponent of doing the best you can to use established workflows when implementing an EHR. Then, over time adjusting those workflows as needed to gain more efficiency.

18 How easy is it to customize the system overall?
I’d take this EHR tip from a couple angles. First, is how easily can you customize the EMR system. Yes, some of it could be the EMR workflows that I talked about in EMR Tip #19 above, but it could be a whole set of other options (billing, scheduling, messaging, etc). The second part of this suggestion relates to how well this EHR will adapt to the constantly changing clinical environment. Will they be able to handle ICD-10 without too much pain for you? Will you be able to make it work in an ACO environment? Healthcare is constantly changing and so you want to make sure your EHR can be customized to fit your changing needs.

17 Know work flow can be hard coded to ensure compliance.
There are times when hard coding the workflow is incredibly valuable. Certainly this will frustrate some providers, but if done correctly most will understand the need to hard code the workflow to ensure compliance. It’s a fine line to walk, but there are plenty of instances where hard coded workflows can do wonders to improve the care you provide.

16 Ensure easy access to the system via multiple platforms.
As much as providers might not like checking in on the EMR remotely, it’s often absolutely necessary. So, it’s important to ensure that your EMR is available on every medium possible. Can it be connected to remotely? Does it work on the latest devices? Yes, the iPad has a huge portion of the physician market share right now, but we’ll see how long that lasts. Every year a new device comes out and you’ll want an EMR vendor that’s keeping an eye on this movement and making the EMR available on the best technology.

If you want to see my analysis of the other 101 EMR and EHR tips, I’ll be updating this page with my 101 EMR and EHR tips analysis. So, click on that link to see the other EMR tips.