Slideshow Supporting Your EHR Post Go-Live: Challenges and Tips

  • November 30 2015, 9:18pm EST
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Supporting Your EHR Post Go-Live: Challenges and Tips

Implementing an electronic health record system takes years of planning, but the work doesn’t end there. Understanding what’s required to maintain and support an EHR after it’s deployed is critical to its long-term success.

Here, courtesy of Hayes Management Consulting’s Lizzy Karoly, we describe some of the key challenges you can expect to encounter once your organization’s EHR goes live, along with some helpful tips for a successful conversion.

Make Patient Care Your Priority

No matter how diligently you prepare, once you go live with your EHR, you will encounter a flood of issues and the service tickets will pile up.

Whether you are triaging through a command center or asking users to open service tickets, you should prioritize based on the impact that an issue has on patient care. Issues that have an immediate impact on care should be marked as critical and pushed to the front of the line. Everything else gets dealt with after that. (Photo: Fotolia)

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Communicate Constantly

Don’t keep the rest of your organization in the dark. Constant communication concerning the status of various support issues is the best policy, and email is usually the best form of communication.

The more transparent you are concerning the number of issues that have been reported, the number that remain open, the probable time to resolution and related matters, the more trust, patience and cooperation you will receive. (Photo: Fotolia)

Address Security Access

Security access is another major challenge as each EHR user receives role-based security access based on job responsibilities and level of training completed. Yet no matter how much work you do beforehand to ensure that everyone receives the correct level of access, once the EHR goes live, some end users will undoubtedly discover they have been given the wrong level of clearance.

Prepare for this ahead of time by arranging for plenty of ‘at-the-elbow’ support, immediately following the go-live, to help ensure that users that have completed the necessary training are granted the appropriate access. Many users should be able to have their access level adjusted within a matter of minutes. (Photo: Fotolia)

Expect Training Snafus

Of course, there will also be instances where a security access discrepancy can’t be resolved immediately because the user did not complete the appropriate training for his or her role and level of responsibilities. In those cases, you will have to work with the user’s manager to identify the full set of training requirements for that user.

If a user is temporarily locked out of the system and unable to work, expect this to be a tense conversation. Be prepared to defuse the situation by assigning users a view-only access level that will enable them to perform at least some of their work, until arrangements can be made to provide the requisite training. (Photo: Fotolia)

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Plan to Provide Additional Training

While most initial user training will take place well before the conversion date, some will inevitably need to be completed afterwards. But you need to distinguish between the urgent, stop-gap needs that arise and the ongoing and long-term training requirements that go hand-in-hand with an EHR deployment. (Photo: Fotolia)

Ready Post-Live Training Classes Ahead of Time

To correct the immediate problems arising from incorrect or incomplete training prior to go-live, instruct your training team to contract certified trainers and schedule the necessary classes as quickly as possible.

You can expedite this by preparing a modest training schedule for the first three weeks post conversion. By offering these classes and allowing users to register for them even before the cutover takes place, you can reassure your user population that additional training will always be available as needed. (Photo: Fotolia)

Set a Monthly Training Schedule

The need for EHR training doesn’t abruptly draw to a close a few short weeks following go-live. Application training is an ongoing necessity to meet the needs of new hires, rotating residents, interns, job transfers, promotions and other staffing requirements.

Work directly with practice managers, resident coordinators and other personnel managers to set a monthly training schedule, based on their staffing plans. A set schedule will help them minimize downtime for people in new roles, because the required training classes aren’t available. You also can give managers a better sense of requirements the training team can accommodate, allowing for realistic schedules that everyone can agree on. (Photo: Fotolia)

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Keep on Communicating

Like training, communications can’t suddenly come to a halt a few weeks or months after a conversion takes place. As training, security and help desk procedures change in the days and weeks following a cutover, both managers and staff need to be kept in the loop.

Other members of your organization likely will have been so intent on just getting through the go-live that they have not considered the big picture and what the new system means for them in the long run. The more you can communicate and the sooner you can do it, the more likely it is that everyone in the organization will be able to quickly get up to speed and find their comfort zone. (Photo: Fotolia)

These insights were provided by Hayes Management Consulting, a healthcare advisory and software development firm. To learn more, click here.