APMA News - February 2011 - (Page 44)

I Talking Practice Enhancement I EHR Implementation From the american academy of Podiatric Practice Management, the voice of practice management for the profession. By John guiliana, dPM, MS With 2011 upon us, I hope you already have performed your due diligence and have either chosen, or are at least close to selecting, an electronic health records (EHR) system that best suits your practice’s needs. Now you face the challenging part—the implementation process. tools for project planning, but be aware that they must be re-evaluated constantly, especially if you are designing timelines for phased implementation. Keep assessing progress as the implementation process proceeds and assure your staff that the timeline is flexible. That reassurance should help reduce their stress level. Try to identify the early adopters and the laggards on your staff. Encourage early adopters to assist and motivate the laggards. The entire implementation process, including training, can span a few weeks for small practices (one to two physicians) to several months for larger practices. Some implementation tips: 1. Be patient! Learning curves are usually underestimated. The learning curve for complete and successful adoption of an EHR system is usually vastly underestimated. Even if productivity is not affected initially during the go-live phase, most providers do report an increase in the length of time necessary for documentation for six months or so, especially if new, unfamiliar templates are introduced. Keep in mind EHR is an investment and like many investments, it will take time before you realize its benefits and economic returns. You will ultimately set the tone! Remain positive and motivational. Designate certain users to be “superusers.” Their role is to provide immediate, frontline response to staff with questions and issues during go-live. They should be able to provide immediate support to staff during a go-live situation, ensuring productivity is not interrupted. Map out new workflows using current staff members. First, map out current workflows on paper and bring in the end-users, who perform the current workflows, to help design new workflows for EHR. After all, they know how to perform their duties better than anyone else. n The Learning Curve The implementation of an EHR system, particularly for a medical practice that has never used such a system, will indeed create some change-management issues. Expect speed bumps during the initial few months. Staff preparation and buy-in are instrumental for success. Communicate to staff your desire to implement an EHR before the purchase. Better yet, include staff in the selection of an EHR vendor. Choosing an EHR with no input from the support staff can create resentment among staff and a feeling that their input is not useful or necessary. The staff members will more likely embrace a system they have helped to choose. Be aware that support staff may feel they could be replaced by the new technology. In certain instances, this perception may be accurate—particularly among file clerks or other types of staff. Be sensitive to their concerns. For a smooth transition, I recommend doctors be proactive about setting up tutorial timelines and conduct mandatory staff learning modules to assess individual progress prior to “going live” with the technology. Timelines are great 44 How about Hardware Needs and Concerns? A crucial part of the success of your implementation will depend on the success of the hardware infrastructure readiness. For a client-server environment, the project should be planned in advance to define locations of workstations, printers, kiosks, servers, and/or wireless-device access points. Existing hardware systems may need to be upgraded and/or reviewed to determine the system’s stability prior to any software installation. New systems need to be purchased and delivered well in advance of implementation to allow for testing. Once the infrastructure is in place, the testing phase should begin to ensure all aspects of the network and hardware are functioning properly. Phase two of testing begins once the EHR software has been installed complete with a dummy database to enable appropriate testing of the applications in the new environment. It’s a wise investment to hire a local IT expert to handle these issues. 2. 3 4. Dr. Guiliana is a nationally recognized speaker and author on topics pertaining to medical practice management. He holds a Master of Science in Health Care Management and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Podiatric Practice Management. He practices in Hackettstown, N.J., and can be reached at Jguiliana@aappm.org. APMA News l February 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of APMA News - February 2011

APMA News - February 2011
Contents
In Short
President’s Message
A New Era in APMA Communications
Model Fee-Parity Law Now Available
Looking Forward to 2011 with ASPS
Nadia Sadeghi: A Long Road to Podiatric Medicine
Destination Boston: 2011 Annual Scientific Meeting
Annual Scientific Meeting Registration Form
Insurance Advisor
2011 Call for Awards Nominations
Members Who Know Media
CPME Update
Federal Advocacy Forum
Young Members Update
Coding Update
Talking Practice Enhancement
IT Consultant
New Members
Death Notices
In Memoriam: John Carson
Worthy of Note
Resolutions Submissions
Development Update
APMAPAC Update
Classified Advertising
Dates to Remember
Advertising Index

APMA News - February 2011

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