As a principal with the Health Delivery Group of Computer Sciences Corp., and a critical care nurse with more than 35 years of experience in healthcare and health IT, Karen Fuller has seen more than a few successful EHR implementations. Now, on the CSC Meaningful Use Community blog and in an interview with Healthcare IT News, Fuller shares her top 10 internal factors to EHR implementation success.
As Healthcare IT News reports, Fuller puts the 10 factors into four "buckets": the right people, right processes, right change management and right technology. Without all four components, it's tough to make an EHR investment pay off.
Organizational leadership must show a clear commitment to the EHR and make sure clinical and operational executives are fully accountable for their actions and visible to rank-and-file staff. "They have to understand that is it is an organizational priority," Fuller says, and that the implementation represents a "transition for the entire organization."
Change management should involve preparing, supporting and sustaining people in the establishment of a change-centric culture. "You have to provide the right resources in terms of equipment, technology, education and training. This is a huge undertaking," Fuller says. Expect some resistance to the degree of change an EHR requires, but explain to doubters that "this journey of change prepares them for other changes in the future."
Process improvement is just as challenging as culture change, but make it clear that decisions will be based on best practices and evidence-based medicine. "Standardization is a goal that most organizations are trying to achieve, but it is a tough one, particularly if you have many organizations," according to Fuller. Clinicians should lead, design and champion new workflows, and work closely with the IT department to help translate technology requirements into clinical practice.
It's also important to have healthy partnerships with vendors. The EHR and all its components of course should be certified for meaningful use, while functionality should support organizational goals and clinical workflows, Fuller says.