News Feature | March 6, 2014

Many Practices Struggling With EHR Implementation

Source: Health IT Outcomes
EHR Implementation Challenges

Live tests of EHR systems bring stress to many practices due to unforeseen issues 

Despite vetting and trials, the real test of an EHR system comes when it is turned live and used on real patients. Unfortunately, this is also where a number of providers run into glitches and issues that they weren’t prepared for.

As explained in Medical Economics, "Though you may have anticipated a few glitches, it is inevitable that productivity will suffer, your staff will be frustrated, and you will have to explain the new digital system to your patients.

“Some of the key findings from the Medical Economics’ Best Practices Study were that 96 percent of the physicians participating cited excessive time to implement, and 89 percent noted a disruption to the practice. And when it came to that dreaded go-live date, only 37 percent of the physicians in the study said they were truly ready.”

Medical Economics echoes that sentiment, writing, "Despite the government's bribe of nearly $27 billion to digitize patient records, nearly 70 percent of physicians say EHR systems have not been worth it." Specifically, "Poor EHR usability, time-consuming data entry, interface with face-to-face patient care, inefficient and less fulfilling work content, inability to exchange health information between EHR products, and degradation of clinical documentation were prominent sources of professional dissatisfaction."

According to EHR Intelligence, "Change is hard, and the longer you repeat a process, the harder change becomes. Additionally, technology is scary, especially technology that is less than perfect. Providers need to trust their systems, which typically means abandoning their old ways. Once providers begin to trust their systems, efficiency within practices often begin to improve. Also, out-of-the-box EHRs are not designed to mirror existing workflows but can often be configured to meet the original need more efficiently and integrate better with other workflows."

Even though implementing an EHR system can be quite frustrating, it helps to focus on the benefits that the implementation has to offer. HIT Consultant explains six of the main benefits of digital health records including security, privacy, cost effectiveness, accessibility, reduced IT requirements, and practice growth.

"Transitioning from a traditional client-server system to a cloud-based system can be intimidating. But, once the transition is complete, there are countless benefits that can help a practice save time and money. Doctors and their staff members are finding that cloud-based EHRs are not only easier to set up and start using out of the box, but overhead is virtually eliminated: both out-of-pocket expense and the cost of establishing an IT support department."