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Avoiding EHR implementation's deadly sins

By Brita Van Fossen, Editorial Assistant

As the meaningful use deadline approaches, increasing numbers of clinical practices are adopting EHRs for use in their daily workflow. In doing so, many practices are discovering that, although the EHR selection process is difficult and time-consuming, the next step in the process — EHR implementation– is equally challenging. Most practices have hit roadblocks and concerns during the transition, with many EHR implementation missteps that could have been avoided.

Fortunately, one of the best ways to succeed is to consider others’ mistakes and proceed differently. Since a fair amount of practices have implemented EHRs, those in the beginning stages of the process can benefit from the reflection upon their peers’ journeys.

Healthcare IT News
compiled some of the most prevalent errors in the implementation process, referring to the common missteps as the seven deadly sins of EHR implementation.

These sins include the dire need to participate in training initiatives and the reality that a transition to an EHR will not mend existing systemic problems, but instead exacerbate them. Additionally, the list discusses involving nurses in the EHR selection process, since they interact with the system on a daily basis, and keeping written documentation of vendor promises, so as to avoid surprising realities once the EHR is installed.

Comparably, Concord Hospital’s 10 steps for EHR implementation — or, perhaps, commandments — include a similar suggestion: gaining support from the whole staff, since it is responsible for actually implementing changes to the clinical workflow.

The underlying theme from the suggestions is that, while EHR implementation is an elaborate process wrought with pitfalls and problems, it is also as a transition that needs to be respected. Through the exposure to potential issues, those who are still in the beginning stages of EHR implementation can avoid some of their peers’ mistakes and reap the benefits of using EHRs sooner. With preparation and practice-wide acceptance, EHR systems will ultimately help patients. This makes EHR implementation well worth the effort.

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