Electronic Health Record: Selecting and Implementing

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Topic: Health & Medicine
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Selecting and implementing electronic health record (EHR) that will best meet the requirements and needs of an organization is an intricate process having many challenges that may emerge at every stage of the whole embodying journey. In general, there are three phases of EHR introduction: pre-implementation, implementation, and post-implementation (Lorenzi et al., 2009), and planned and successful carrying out of each of them is what defines whether the outcomes will be positive. The stage of pre-implementation implies choosing the developer and provider of EHR and designing workflow mapping. Implementation is a step of signing a contract with the provider and defining all aspects of the work process that will be covered by the EHR. Once EHR is implemented, post-implementation starts. It includes all the processes that follow EHR embodying such as changes in the workflow of an organization and improving EHR itself (Hoyt & Yoshihashi, 2014).

Practice has proven that timely and successful implementation of the EHR is impossible without being aware that all three step mentioned above are of extreme significance. The keys to a fruitful introduction, however, are thorough planning of each stage, defining the needs of an organization so that it is possible to select the best-fitting EHR, and realizing that it a time-consuming procedure. Moreover, it is important to remember that the crucial aspect of the implementation stage are people, process, and technology (Hoyt & Yoshihashi, 2014), and ignoring any of them can lead to failure or less than optimal outcomes.

Bearing in mind everything that was said above about the EHR introduction process, it is possible to provide real-world examples of successful implementation of the EHR system. First of all, we can mention Primary Care of the Treasure Coast, Florida. The organization hired new CEO, Michael Luton, who would deal with the challenges of EHR embodying. Mr. Luton made stress on the importance of people giving them an opportunity to participate in the process and bringing in propositions for the ways of selecting the most suitable system. What is more, he made sure that all physicians would develop skills necessary for working with EHR prior implementation. Together with that, the organization’s management was aware that the process is time-consuming and was not surprised that it took 18 months to introduce the system (It can be done: Seven successful EHR implementation stories, n.d.).

One more example of successful EHR implementation is the case of South Point Family Practice, North Carolina. The initial purpose of introducing Her was improving performance and dealing with the challenge of finding necessary medical charts in cases of emergency. Dr. David Rihehart is the one who led the practice setting to success developing the implementation strategy that implied gradual embodying of the system, so, physicians learned one element of the EHR system at a time. That said, Dr. Rihehart focused on people and process (It can be done: Seven successful EHR implementation stories, n.d.).

The cases of success are pretty much similar. It is more important to view examples of failures in EHR so that it is possible to avoid similar mistakes. One of such examples is the case of Athens Regional Health System, Georgia. The problem there was that some elements of the system would not work, especially those aimed at guaranteeing safety of customers’ personal data. The reason for failure was ignoring people and the level of their computer skills, so once the system was implemented they did not know how to run it properly (How one health system botched its EHR rollout, 2014). Another similar story is the case of Girard Medical Center, Kansas. What led to less than optimal result here is the inability to define the needs of the hospital because the initial set of EHR system functions included those that the organization would not use. As a result, it could not afford system’s maintenance (Hall, 2012). So, the primary reasons for failures in implementing electronic health record are ignoring some elements of People, Process, Technology approach and failing to select EHR that would best meet the need of an organization.

References

Hall, S. D. (2012). Failed EHR project proves a cautionary tale for hospitals. Web.

How one health system botched its EHR rollout. (2014). Web.

Hoyt, R. E. & Yoshihashi, A. K. (2014). Health informatics: Practical guide for healthcare and information technology professionals (6th ed.). Pensacola, FL: Informatics Education.

It can be done: Seven successful EHR implementation stories. (n.d). Web.

Lorenzi, N. M., Kouroubali, A., Detmer, D. E., & Bloomrosen, M. (2009). How to successfully select and implement electronic health record (EHR) in small ambulatory practice settings. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, 9(15), 1-13.