Consultants debunk 'myths' of EHR implementation

EHR vendors will provide all the technical expertise you need, right? EHRs can't provide a measurable return on investment. And it's inevitable that productivity will slow to a crawl during an implementation.

Wrong, wrong and wrong, according to Cheryl Waltko, vice president of healthcare consulting firm Equation, and Dr. Christopher Sprowl, president of physician practice services provider Healthcare Value Applications. Writing in Becker's Hospital Review, Waltko and Sprowl debunk these among "12 key myths" about EHR implementation.

For example, they point out that it's wrong to think an EHR implementation is just another IT project. "Implementing EHR is not a project for the IT department alone. EHRs are an enabling technology that is part of a larger initiative designed to help physicians demonstrate the improved value of the services they deliver by improving clinical quality and economic efficiency. This involves a cross-department effort," Waltko and Sprowl say.

Don't think you can manage your own EHR project, either. "Without an experienced implementation team, the project will likely take longer and become more expensive. Despite great efforts on the part of well-meaning individuals, many providers must contend with 1) insufficient understanding of the entire EHR project requirements, 2) inadequate capabilities and capacity to support this effort, and 3) significant upfront capital investment. As a result, many encounter slow and low adoption rates, and little if any return on investment," according to Waltko and Sprowl.

That said, a properly executed EHR project can produce a significant ROI in as little as 18 months. "In order to maximize [the implementation's] success, providers must establish some type of provider organization that can govern the project, streamline the decision making process and centralize select shared functions," they say.

To read about the other "myths" of EHR implementation:
- check out this story from Becker's Hospital Review