Before installing your EHR, answer these questions

As more providers tackle electronic health record implementation and Meaningful Use, additional challenges almost certainly will come to light. In addition to the technical complexities, politics often play a part, especially at larger institutions.

Dave Vreeland, a partner at health IT project management firm Cumberland Consulting Group, this week shared his checklist of essentials for EHR projects with Becker's Hospital Review. His list of questions that every facility should answer includes the following:

  • Is the implementation No. 1 on the facilities priority list? Vreeland says, given the timeline and the implications that EHRs are the "building block" for most HIT ventures, the project must take precedence over everything else IT related.
  • Who "owns" the project? Are IT employees solely at the helm of implementing your EHR? What about clinicians? Vreeland believes that the two need to work hand-in-hand to ensure success.
  • How involved is the C-suite, if at all? Given the scope of Meaningful Use, hospital executives must be involved, according to Vreeland.
  • What about clinician involvement? Similarly, Vreeland points out that physicians should be involved, adding that their input is critical from Day 1. "They need to be involved in the...workflow discussions, walkthroughs, testing, training, and--most importantly--the design of the EHR," he says.
  • How often are status updates given? If updates don't come every two weeks, according to Vreeland, there's almost certainly a failure to communicate. "It ought to be like clockwork," he tells Becker's.

Additionally, develop several documents for your project, Vreeland says, including a project charter to lay out the basics, a project plan that details the charter's goals, a communication plan so people know who to turn to and when, an adoption/change management plan to outline exactly how EHRs will impact staff on a daily basis, and a team organization chart.

For more:
- read the full checklist at Becker's Hospital Review