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Meaningful Health Care Informatics Blog

Jul 3 2010   1:59PM GMT

The must have qualities for an EHR project manager

Posted by: RedaChouffani
EHR, EHR PM, PMP, project manager

So, here you are looking at implementing the EHR solution that you have spent many years deciding on. On one side the vendor has provided you with a an implementation specialist and they have a check list for everything from

With the deadlines nearing for stage 1 for meaningful use, implementations of electronic health records have seen an increase. While in most cases the attention has been on which packages claim their guaranteed certification, the main challenge that health organizations will face is the overwhelming process of implementing the EHR.

 In many cases the vendors provide great resources to assist.  This is a great value for any health organization, as this resource would have experienced many EHR implementations. 

However, the practice must still have an internal project manager that will lead the core group and work with the vendors, staff and IT to ensure all the milestones are completed.  In order for the practice to identify the candidate for taking this role, one must look for several qualities that will be critical to ensure the success of this person.

The first step is to identify the landscape that this project manager will be working in:

·        Strict deadlines due to the ARRA

·        Additional hardware software requirements

·        New technical Acronyms (HL7 for lab interfacing, X12 835,837 for claim transactions, DICOM, PACS, CPOE.)

·        Regulatory requirements (Meaningful use measures)

·        Backlog scanning for older charts

·        Multiple stakeholders and vendors for different functions (IT vendors, EHR vendors, Lab Companies, prescribing, Clearing house for billing, State/federal entities, calling systems..)

·        Some staff resistance for change (workflow change, or software change)

·        Data conversions between systems

With the ever changing conditions, and the complexity of the project the EHR project manage must possess some key traits that will ensure the success of the implementation:

Leadership and soft Skills

·        A good understanding of the practices goals, processes and limitations

·        Good time management skills

·        Effective communication skills

·        The ability to motivate the team during the transition

·        Strong work ethic

·        Good time management skills

·        A positive attitude that will ensure that there is a good energy around the project

·        Listening skills

·        Flexibility, adaptability and problem solving skills

Medical knowledge

·        A medical background and good understanding of some of the practice workflows

·        An understanding of some of the medical acronyms and terminologies

Technical skills

·        A high level understanding of some of the technologies that will be utilized

·        Familiar with the application or able to quickly learn the EHR application

·        An high level understanding of what integrations and interfaces will be implemented

·        Some knowledge on what technologies available to the group to enhance and maximize the use of the infrastructure / EHR.

The complexity of the EHR project manager role stems from the diverse environment in which they work in.  Their functions are ranging from day to day interactions with the teams, coordinating with vendors, to ensuring that the project objectives, schedules and budgets are on track.  So when making your selection from within your team who will a good candidate, one must consider all the above criteria when making that selection.

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