Electronic medical record keeping is a $25 billion dollar industry that is expected to keep growing, even after government incentives to go digital expire. Electronic health records (EHR) are a new concept in the health industry and EHR implementation can be tricky. Computer programmers and IT specialists are often not medical professionals, so when healthcare organizations switch to a new mode of accomplishing tasks, there can be a few bumps along the way.
In order for an organization's EHR implementation to be successful, here are some key points to consider.
- Have a realistic timeline and the proper resources in place to see the EHR implementation through to the end. Implementing a new system for something as involved and complex as health records does not happen overnight.
- Clinicians need to be involved in the project from beginning to end. They need to support the project and participate in planning and education. Workflow may need to be redesigned or there may be flaws in the system. Clinicians need to lead the change and work in sync with IT departments for successful implementation.
- Approach this change with the right attitude, clear expectations and up-front planning to help prepare people for change. It is easier to navigate hurdles along the way when everyone shares the same vision.
With the right leadership in place, EHR implementation can be extremely rewarding for a healthcare organization.
Benefits to clinicians and patients
There are several benefits of EHRs for clinicians and patients. Physicians and nurses will be able to identify patients in need of preventative treatments, monitor patient's vitals over time and have a more accurate history readily available in one place. EHR makes the process of maintaining patient records easier and less time consuming.
Benefits of EHRs to patients include the ability to more easily access and update their medical records. Patients no longer have to go from one specialist to the next with charts and test results in tow. Electronic health records give patients more control over their care by ensuring each provider has all the information necessary to make informed decisions. This also aids in the coordination of care across disciplines and increases quality and experience.
The healthcare industry is slowly evolving in terms of maintaining patient records as paper charts are becoming outdated. Utilizing an electronic system for patient records may seem like a monumental task, but with the right leadership and support, the benefits to healthcare providers and patients outweigh any reason not to invest in an EHR.
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