Preparing Your Practice for EHR Integration, Part 1

Preparing Your Practice for EHR IntegrationWith hundreds of electronic health record (EHR) solutions on the market, it can be difficult to identify one that’s right for your practice. The implementation process can be as important a part of your decision as the software. Quest Diagnostics is different from other EHR vendors for many reasons – including a highly-trained customer implementation team. The team works closely with physician practices and office staff members to make the implementation and transition period as smooth and efficient as possible. In an effort to help guide those of you considering EHR adoption, we asked Jessica on our implementation team how practices can prepare for the transition to electronic records:

Decide if your practice is ready for the transition.

Try to gauge your staff’s comfort level with learning a new technology. Implementing an EHR can seem daunting, especially for healthcare providers who aren’t particularly savvy when it comes to technology. Office employees have to be comfortable with the transition in order for it to be successful. If you work with die-hard fans of paper-based records, you may want to involve them in the decision-making process; allow them to share their concerns with your preferred vendor. Ideally, you want physicians and assistants to be open and willing to try a new system. If overcoming the learning curve is a concern, keep in mind that Quanum EHR uses a step-wise approach to adoption, so your staff can learn to use the system at a pace that works for them.

Agree on an appropriate budget.

Healthcare providers worried about implementation and training costs often make the mistake of opting for a free EHR. It can be difficult to successfully implement a new system, train staff and keep up with changes in technology and healthcare legislation without a high level of technical support. Take this into consideration when deciding on a budget. If your practice is going to apply for Meaningful Use incentives, you should also factor those reimbursements into the amount your practice is willing to spend.

Prepare your staff and plan ahead.

It’s never a good idea to jump into a new system without some type of orientation. Start by evaluating your staff’s skill and comfort level with electronic order entry. Along with a new system comes a new set of responsibilities and roles that should be carefully assigned to different members of your group. Quanum EHR relies on role-based training, meaning our implementation team tailors training sessions to each staff member’s responsibilities in the healthcare system. Physicians, nurses and assistants should be prepared for some changes to their daily routine. It may take time to acclimate to these changes, but they will ultimately make your practice operate more efficiently. Selecting someone in the office who is technology savvy and willing to be the “go-to person” or office expert will also help your staff through the transition.

Identify the resources you have and the ones you need.HP Hardware

By not having the right equipment in place, your practice could cause significant delays in the transition process. Decide whether your current hardware and network connections will meet the needs of your practice after an EHR has been implemented. We don’t expect physician practices to know everything about medical-grade hardware, so we formed a partnership with HP to help you determine and fulfill your hardware needs. One resource your practice will most likely need is initial and ongoing IT and technical support, a service that comes included in the Quanum solution.

Training and Support can help your practice through the transition.

EHR adoption doesn’t have to be daunting or time-consuming. If your practice chooses the right vendor and goes in prepared, the transition process can actually be a smooth and efficient one. In the long-run, your practice will benefit financially and improve the quality of healthcare for patients by handling health records, lab results and inter-office communications electronically.

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