The idea of implementing an electronic health record can strike fear into even the bravest of us, which is why I’ve composed a list of 5 essential secrets to get you on your way to implementation success.
This post is a continuation of my previous articles 5 Secrets to Successful Implementation (Part 1) and 5 Secrets to Successful Implementation (Part 2) discussing secrets and lessons learned for successfully implementing your new electronic documentation system.
Secret #4: Practice, Practice, Practice
Do not overestimate the simplicity of practice.
Is it delusional to think that users will be eager and willing to practice their new charting methods?
All staff are busy and are very conscientious about keeping up with their work.
They might even feel pressured to maintain their current work load.
You need to count on the fact that your agency will experience a decrease in productivity by staff as they learn the new documentation system.
It is a fact.
Now once you have accepted that, you will need to tell your agency staff to expect it.
Devoting significant time for users to practice will dramatically decrease the loss in productivity.
How can you get them to practice?
Here are some tips:
- Schedule a weekly time to practice
- Have supervisors present to monitor practice and provide feedback
- Conduct weekly or bi-weekly staff meetings to discuss concerns or issues
- Create a self audit tool for users to complete
- Complete homework assignments, supervisor reviews and provide feedback
Many users experience anxiety with new or different procedures.
Practicing allows users to become more familiar with this new requirement and hopefully experience less anxiety.
Secret #5: Keep the Learning Active
Learning doesn’t stop after you Go Live.
Documentation is a constant and evolving process, and changes will need to be made.
Some of the ways you can prepare your agency for the flexibility required include creating a focus group and conducting periodic internal audits.
Creating a focus group that is made up of users is helpful to keep the system in working order.
Expect that guidelines you created might not meet documentation and/or program needs – focus groups are not just for complaining.
Ensure the focus groups know that they are solution oriented.
Have the focus groups lead yearly or semi-yearly trainings as solutions are created.
You might also think of rotating the group every 6 months so that all users (including your lingering resistors) get a chance to come up with solutions rather than just present barriers.
Periodic audits might also prove to be beneficial to make sure users are documenting the data as specified by your agency.
Along with audits, it is essential to continue to practice your skills using the Omaha System.
Case reviews of real life clients presented at staff meetings are a great tool to continue your mastery of the Omaha System.
There is no such thing as a perfect EHR implementation.
It is through failure, hurdles and success that the above tips and recommendations were created.
As you embark on this endeavour, remember that you can’t do it alone, identify the resistors, make a plan, practice and keep learning.
You too can have a successful implementation.