In various senior positions over 32 years in numerous hospital departments, Alan Vierling has overseen a half-dozen implementations of electronic health records systems. Now, during the AHIMA Conference in Atlanta, the senior consultant at Encore Health Resources is passing on lessons learned.

“These projects are a rare opportunity to involve the entire organization from top to bottom,” he contends. “There’s not many times in your career to get the entire organization together and drive teamwork and a better culture. You will touch 100 percent of your staff.”

EHR implementation doesn’t have to be drudgery, and actually can be fun stuff, Vierling says. “If you get a committed leadership team and partners, this will be one of the greatest things that ever happened at the hospital.”

But there are certain elements of successful implementations, starting with staff and physician engagement from the very beginning, and planning as detailed as possible with people accountable for meeting the plans and communicating what they mean for each type of user.

“If you think you’ve said it enough, say it one more time,” Vierling counsels. “There are different ways to talk to doctors, surgeons and nurses.” Further, good communication can help clinicians to build their order sets in a timely manner.

Education session 10235, “EHR Lessons Learned from the Boardroom to the Emergency Room,” is scheduled at 1:00 on October 29.

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