Tips For Successful EHR Conversion

We can all agree that there are numerous benefits to EHR data. From better analysis, diagnosis, treatment to simply the ease of tracking of the patient’s data. The legislation that forced hospitals to EHR records dates back to the second Bush administration. Most healthcare organizations converted decades ago and now are facing issues with another conversion because the EHR system is outdated and does not handle the technological advancements of today’s digital world.

The way we practice medicine has changed, so should your EHR system. We no longer have to piecemeal patients’ treatment plans; the hospitals are using an integrated approach. So why is it so hard to use EHR in the same integrated manner from appointment management, billing, insurance to patient history and reporting?

As wonderful as the new technology is, the implementation process has not always been easy for most of healthcare institutions. There are plenty of examples of conversions gone wrong. One of them is an example at Sonoma West Medical Center (SWMC) in Sebastopol, CA where allegedly a key problem with the software is that it mixes up patients’ records, the lawsuit alleges. The lawsuit also alleges the EMR has difficulty tracking and updating patient medications, displaying patient code status information, and advising providers of patients’ desired medical interventions. The EMR was developed by one of the hospital’s board members.

Lori Intravichit, CEO of Sunlit Cove Healthcare said:

Conversion of any kind in a hospital setting is like changing a wheel on a fully loaded bus while the bus is going 80 miles per hour on a highway. It is no small feat, even for the best of healthcare organizations. The significant dollar investment is only part of the conversion equation. The additional resources and time that your staff will need to adjust to a new system can bring your operations to knees.

To avoid damaging and costly mistakes, your healthcare system needs an independent, trusted partner that can ensure that the chosen EHR software system will benefit the patients, providers, and your organization.

Here are the essential tips for a successful EHR conversion:

1. Get your employees on board, this is essential to your success. Identify who is on board and who is not. Not all your staff will or is willing to adapt.

2. Build a dedicated team. Make sure to include all departments putting heavy emphasis on staff from finance, billing, and IT.

3. Understand and organize your processes and data. Look beyond the initial layer and understand what data should be collected. Avoid workarounds around for 1% case scenarios, optimized your workflow that includes standard practice.

4. Build your vision and make a plan around it. Work from the top and then divide your plan into smaller tasks. Then Establish and follow the correct order of events.

5. Practice, practice, practice your go-live, and then go practice again. Trust us; it still will not be enough.

6. Validate the data; just because you have the data does not mean that is it is correct or that it is where it is supposed to be

7. Migration! Time to anxiously watch the progress bar and monitor for any parsing or mapping errors.

8. Data quality assurance is critical. Again, just because the migration has finished, it does not mean you are out of the woods.

9. Hand holding time. Fill up your coffee cup because everyone will have questions and will need help.

10. Updates and upgrades to the system. Even the best of system architects cannot predict and anticipate every single detail. Plus, there will be updates needed for new staff, drugs, and treatments.

Not all systems and vendors are going to be the right fit for you. Sunlit Cove Healthcare team will help you evaluate your current workflow, provide options and you can decide the next steps that will deliver a successful conversion..
We provide services on a continuous or as-needed basis for a reasonable rate. No need to hire staff as volumes shift with the constantly changing environment. We work on a flat fee basis that will allow your budget not to fluctuate. Contact us or give us a call at 727.576.2903 to get started.

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