Electronic health records (EHRs) enable modern healthcare services to work more efficiently, produce more accurate diagnoses, and improve the quality of treatment. But despite the advantages of more efficient staff management and better patient care, no healthcare organization should underestimate the risks involved. With computerization comes both risk and opportunity, which is why you need to plan carefully and keep security and compliance top of mind.
#1. Assemble your team
Although every individual within your practice will be involved in the system, some members of your team will need to devote more time than others into leading the process and delegating tasks efficiently. At the head of your team, you’ll need a visionary leader who has a thorough understanding of the standardizations and compliance regulations facing the healthcare sector and has sufficient time to see the project through (typically three or four months). You’ll also need a project manager, solution evaluation and selection experts, implementation members, and people to test the EHR-based system before it goes live.
#2. Choose and prepare your software
Choosing the right software solution for managing medical records is one of the most critical decisions you can ever make. Not only will your chosen solution have a knock-on effect on your practice’s scalability and efficiency, but the well-being of your patients will come to depend on it. Starting with a clear goal in mind, you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons of each option and ensure that any potential vendor is prepared to provide your team with a thorough demonstration. Above all, make sure your EHR system is fully compliant with HIPAA and HITECH legislation.
#3. Plan for treatment room layouts
Once you’ve chosen your solutions, you’ll need to plan for treatment room layouts to obtain an accurate idea of how your healthcare systems will serve your employees and their patients. Room layouts can have a substantial impact on patient engagement and satisfaction. It’s also important to create a configuration that allows employees to easily enter data into the system while still being able to engage their patients. Things like moveable carts and semicircular desks facing the patient allow for easier and more natural interaction. Of course, you’ll also need to consider connectivity and electrical supply.
#4. Migrate your data
EHR contains highly sensitive information, making them a top target for cybercriminals. Often, attackers strike whilst data is in transit between one system and another. As such, migrating your data over to a new EHR system is one of the riskiest steps and one that needs security and compliance controls in place. Since this is such a high-risk process, it’s often preferable to have a dedicated team of experts oversee the process. Also, make sure to create a checklist of which data is to be entered into the new EHR system, and create data backups to prevent any unscheduled downtime you may experience during the migration.
#5. Train your staff
Extensive training is imperative for ensuring a successful EHR implementation, not just for the sake of efficiency, but also for meeting your compliance obligations. Be sure to set aside a sufficiently generous budget for training your employees so that they can gain the knowledge and skills they need to use your EHR system effectively without compromising on information confidentiality and compliance. It’s good to plan for the future as well by mapping out ongoing training needs and onboarding processes for future employees. By doing all this in advance, your staff can get straight to work as soon as the EHR system is rolled out.
Netcom Solutions provides expertly managed and monitored services to healthcare providers in Miramar, Coral Gables, and Miami. Contact us today to implement a secure and state-of-the-art EHR system for your organization.
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