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Lessons to be Learned in EMR Implementation

Lessons to be Learned in EMR Implementation
04 May 2016

Gathering EMR implementation lesson learned from other practices EMR implementation projects is a way to ensure you are not making the same mistakes.

If your small medical practice has finally committed to an EMR implementation, you must now do your homework to identify the pitfalls of EMR projects and make plans to avoid them. If you’d like a head start with that, read on. You’ll learn a couple of EMR implementation lessons learned from the mistakes of those who have gone before you. That’s always better than learning the hard way, right?

Avoid These Costly EMR Implementation Mistakes

You’ll note that the title of this article refers to EMR implementation lessons learned, as opposed to mistakes. That’s because each of the two following article sections contains three key pieces of information:

1) A mistake that typically proves costly for small practices taking steps toward EMR implementation

2) An example of how practices can fall into the specifically mentioned trap

3) Some guidance to help your practice avoid making the same mistake

Hence, this article is a little bit more than another “Mistakes to Avoid” list.  

1. Don’t Fall Foul of Scope Creep

The mistake: Scope creep happens when the line between what’s necessary and what’s nice to have in an EMR becomes blurred. Nothing is more effective than scope creep for generating implementation cost overruns

How it happens: By the time you’ve made the final selection from your shortlist of EMR vendors, your project team will have their heads full of ideas planted by enthusiastic vendor representatives. People find ways to convince the project lead that additional EMR features and functions (that were not on the original list of requirements) are necessities. If the original list of requirements was well-prepared, new inclusions are probably not actually necessary, but simply nice to have.

How to avoid it: Be methodical and objective. Keep a checklist of the original requirements always to hand. Insist that nothing is built, added, or even considered if it’s not on that EMR implementation list.

2. Know the Value of Process Mapping

The mistake: It’s disconcerting just how many small medical practices begin approaching EMR vendors without even preparing a hard list of requirements or mapping existing processes. These are essential steps to ensure a solution is chosen that will support your practice effectively.

How it happens: The omission of a thorough clinical process review typically results from rushing the process of EMR selection. Choosing the right solution from among the many competing EMR vendors is not something to be done in a hurry. When selection is hasty and not based on thoroughly mapped out processes and documented requirements, the results can be anything from disappointing to disastrous.

How to avoid it: Build sufficient time and resource into your EMR implementation plan and budget. The cost of extra hours required to walk through and document the workflows in your practice will potentially save the far greater expense of an inappropriate solution. That’s why process mapping is considered best practice in just about every type of system implementation.

The Next Steps to EMR Success

Now you’re familiar with two major no-no’s of EMR selection and implementation, it’s time to take the next steps … but don’t forget to map those processes and create your list of requirements.

When you’re ready to take a look at EMR vendors, remember this: blueEHR from ZH Healthcare is an EMR solution that works the way you do. So if you like your processes just the way you mapped them, there’s no need to change them to suit a new IT platform.

To discover other unique benefits of blueEHR, contact us today. It costs nothing to assess how well our solutions might fit your small-practice EMR requirements.