file-66365942Many of you out there have, or are on the cusp of purchasing, an Electronic Health Record (EHR) for your agency.

How many of you have thought about what change management in EHR implementation approach you should be using while implementing your new EHR? 

For those of you out there “in-the-know”, you might think, “overkill”?

Absolutely not.

There is a direct correlation between successful implementations and your management’s ability to develop a plan for change. 

Change management simply refers to having an approach to transitioning an organization to a desired end goal. The end goal here is implementing an EHR.

 The implementation of a new documentation system isn’t accomplished with management merely sending out a memo advising that “We have purchased an EHR; here is some training. We should be up and using this new software in the next few months.” 

An agency Director recently shared just how unprepared they were, and how this process of changing the way you document affects every level of care, from a client walking in the door, to discharging a client from services.

As you might be gathering, the change management in EHR implementation and the transition to a new documentation system can either go well or not well at all.  You may even ask, “So what if the implementation doesn’t go well?”

An implementation that doesn’t go well could mean months to years of direct  impact on your agency as you struggle to regain staff buy-in, retrain users,  the loss of forward momentum with the change and returning to your pre-implementation service ability and speed. 

And this equals loss of revenue. 

file-66372388What do you need to do to be successful?  Simple! Be prepared to implement these three vital components to change: Align, Assimilate, Apply.



Aligning is the act of engagement and setting expectations. 

Upper management’s role is to set the stage as to why this change needs to occur and answer the users’ question of, “What’s in it for me?”  Having an open line of communication with management throughout the process is vital.


Assimilation is when the actual active learning takes place.

Care should be taken to employ a variety of techniques to engage the learner with use of case studies and simulations, to name a few.


The application of knowledge holds a certain level of accountability. 

We want to see results and a behavior change.

In order to see that behavior change, we need to create some accountability.

It is the responsibility of the user’s most direct supervisor to seek out accountability by:

  • Setting up foals
  • Carrying out follow-through coaching
  • Undertaking chart audits
  • Conducting peer chart reviews
  • Celebrating small successes

Research shows that having a great message phase (align) and follow-through phase (apply) is a better indicator of success than the actual training phase (assimilate) itself. 

What this means is that Directors will and should be involved from the beginning, setting the tone and stage for what change they envision. 

They need to sell that dream to create buy-in from the staff.  But that message is not enough.

Once training has occurred, your users will continue to need support from their supervisors.

Give them the tools to master sustained and lasting change.