Physicians and administrators across the healthcare industry are using electronic health records (EHR) software to optimize patient care. This digital record keeping solution is able to manage patient medical histories, prescriptions, and more.

Transitioning from a paper-based system to an EHR platform can streamline records management and improve patient care. However, as with any enterprise software project, there are inherent risks.

Today, we’re sharing the challenges of implementing an EHR system and how you can steer clear of them so you never need to hire a software failure expert.

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6 Challenges of Implementing an EHR System

1. Choosing a System With the Right Functionality

During the software selection phase, you will meet with different providers who will emphasize the bells and whistles you can leverage by purchasing their EHR software.

While some of these features may be useful at your office, you might not need all of them. Before you get stars in your eyes, take the time to define your software requirements and the goals of your EHR implementation.

What do you hope to gain from the new software, and what benefits do you expect for employees, patients, and providers?

2. Ensuring System Uptime and Technical Capability

Before selecting an on-premise EHR software solution, it’s important to assess the state of your current infrastructure. How old are the computers at your office? Are they running on the latest operating system or are they in need of an upgrade?

An on-premise EHR platform is only as useful as the machines that run it. If you invest in a robust, feature-rich system, you might find that it slows down older computers and results in technical issues. Your options here are to either modernize your infrastructure or invest in a cloud EHR solution.

3. Continuously Monitoring System Performance

Sometimes, slow operating speeds aren’t attributed to infrastructure shortcomings, but instead, relate to the interconnectivity requirements of EHR platforms.

Your software will need to integrate with health information technology across local, regional, and national levels. There are third parties involved in these exchanges, and your performance will often hinge on theirs.

To avoid delays, you’ll need to keep a close eye on your system performance. This continuous monitoring can be time-consuming, but it’s imperative to ensuring a successful EHR implementation in the long term.

4. Affording Associated EHR Costs

Any enterprise software solution can be an expensive investment. This also applies to EHR where you’ll need to navigate costs associated with both initial implementation and ongoing usage.

Project cost overruns can be a nightmare, especially for small clinical practices, so setting realistic expectations will ensure you aren’t blindsided with dollar signs.

Our software expert witness team has seen a number of over-budget EHR projects. The lessons learned are to be prepared for all types of expenses, including those related to physical infrastructure, end-user training, maintenance, support, and more.

5. Ensuring Patient Data is Reliable

To be functional and useful, your EHR solution should provide users easy access to complete and accurate patient files. If any data is inaccurate, then your solution will fail to meet its full potential.

Before migrating patient data into a new clinical workflow, take the time to review and cleanse it. Remove duplicate files, correct data entry errors, and fill in empty fields. This will improve usability and make it easier for physicians to find the information they need.

6. Helping Employees Embrace the Change

An upcoming EHR implementation will create plenty of buzz around your office. While some employees may be excited about the change, others might be hesitant.

Before beginning the project, we recommend conducting an organizational readiness assessment to determine if this is the right time to transform your practice. This assessment will help you identify potential barriers to change, so you can develop a change management strategy to facilitate a smooth transition.

Change management involves communicating updates with clarity, personalization, and consistency. It also entails listening to and responding to employee feedback. With the right approach to organizational change management, you can ensure that your move to a digital recordkeeping solution is a smooth one.

An EHR System Can Revolutionize the Provider/Patient Relationship

When physicians have instant access to an individual’s medical history, they can provide a more personalized level of care. At the same time, healthcare administrators can use electronic records to efficiently answer patient questions, schedule appointments, and communicate with pharmacies.

However, there are challenges of implementing an EHR system that are both technical and people-based. By developing a project plan and focusing on change management, you can avoid most challenges of EHR implementations.

Our team of enterprise software consultants can help you navigate EHR software options and explore the variety of ERP systems for healthcare organizations. Contact us below for a free consultation.

About the author

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As Director of Panorama’s Expert Witness Practice, Bill oversees all expert witness engagements. In addition, he concurrently provides oversight on a number of ERP selection and implementation projects for manufacturing, distribution, healthcare, and public sector clients.

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