Here are some general implementation guidelines that other offices have found useful:
This sample implementation timeline represents a conservative guideline for a small medical office. Certainly, it can be done more quickly if desired.
In an ideal world this would be the time that you're electronic health record software would be installed. This would allow the providers and office staff time to fully check out the system and make sure everything works. Sometimes this is not done because the teaching and installation is done at the same time by the vendor, very close to the go live day. Whatever the exact time between software installation and starting to see patients using the record a few things should be checked out:
Decide what information needs to be put in to the patient's chart ahead of time and start doing this for patients coming in the first few weeks at least.
Run through some mock patients in order to get a feel for how the system is working and for patient flow through your office.
If you have done your homework and preparation, launch day should not create any undue stress or anxiety. Mostly it should go smoothly. Certainly, expect some glitches and problems that were not anticipated. Here are some things to consider for three to nine months after that initial day:
Most of all, keep at it. Your electronic health record represents the foundation and nervous system for your new way of working. It enables the future of family medicine to occur.
It is useful to consider how you are going to tell whether you were successful in your transition to an EHR. Is it that you use the EHR? Is it that you increased revenue? Is it higher job satisfaction? Or is it some combination of these?
You should make time to think about what you consider a successful transition and how you might demonstrate that it was or was not a success. If you are feeling more ambitious, you can develop a detailed framework with pre- and post-measures to determine whether your EHR implementation succeeded.
The COMPETE group developed survey tools to measure medical office processes, including administrative and physician tasks, pre- and post-EMR implementation (See Also box). They included variables that were expected to improve with EMR implementation, as well as those that were not expected to improve as control measures.
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EHR Product Select & Implement
Managing the EHR Implementation