By Ron Wince, Guidon Performance Solutions
America’s health system is on the brink of significant transformation. Due to the layered complexity of the health care reform legislation, nearly every participant in the health system will be affected, including providers, patients, payers and government agencies. While providers will have much on their minds in the coming months, from mandates on reimbursement and payment reform to measurement and reporting of care, the most groundbreaking of these changes is the urgency to implement and adopt a system of Electronic Medical Records (EMRs).
As the 2014 deadline for EMR adoption set forth by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act looms provider organizations face penalties for failing to meet the timeline for demonstrating meaningful use. At the same time the volume of information, available technology options and solutions providers entering market continues to multiply. For leadership teams who may just be starting to mobilize their organizations to implement EMRs, navigating already unfamiliar terrain has now become confusing, complex and fraught with risk. How can providers successfully integrate electronic records and processes and avoid the normal pitfalls that come with inexperience adopting new technologies? By considering the following four values, principals can learn to make the best decisions for adopting EMRs:
- Don’t sway from your organization’s mission. Frequently remind yourself of your organization’s purpose and the value added by EMRs throughout the decision-making process.
- Remember who you serve. Focusing on making the change to EMRs can draw your attention from your primary objective, providing healthcare to those in need. Remember that EMR implementation is ultimately about giving patients a better experience.
- Keep processes simple. Weeding out unnecessary processes can be crucial to an organization’s success. EMRs should simplify these processes, and make the delivery of care much more efficient and effective than before.
- Engage your people. Remember that even the most efficient processes and the best technology are only as good as the staff and physicians that use them. These are the people who will be utilizing EMRs daily, so make sure that they have a clear understanding of how they work and their ultimate goal.
While making the switch to EMRs may feel more like a trip through a white-water rapid, these tips provide some insights and principles to focus the organization and help provide navigation aids during the journey. Distilling such a complex process down to a small group of basic principles and fundamentals can help to guide the implementation process, allowing providers to mitigate some of the risks and financial penalties..