Implementing electronic health records (EHR) is no easy task, but there are key lessons learned from successful implementations that can ensure success.

Allscripts Sunrise™ clients have shared tips about how they’ve implemented EHR projects on time, on budget and with the outcomes they expected. Here are a few tips I’ve gleaned from clients who know best:

1  It all starts with strong leadership

An EHR implementation requires a massive amount of change, which is never easy. But if the leadership team supports the project, it will be easier to motivate and align the team to the organization’s goals. Leaders at the highest level need to visibly and consistently reinforce the message that failure is not an option.

2. Focus on outcomes – Understand the WHY

Driving change is much easier when clinicians understand “the why.”  It is critical to articulate what outcomes you are trying to achieve, which helps with all decisions throughout the project.  Don’t forget to take a baseline measurement, so you can prove the return on investment you anticipated.

3. Make deployment the top priority

Your team must understand that an EHR implementation is the most important transformation project happening. Prioritize the deployment, and avoid the temptation to under-resource the content build, system design, training and support to save money.

4. Must be a clinically driven project

An EHR implementation is not just another IT project. Successful implementations engage clinicians from the very beginning and at every step along the way to help ensure the EHR meets their needs.

5. Optimize, don’t just automate, existing workflows

Once you understand the outcomes you are trying to drive, look at how you can optimize your workflows and configure the system to drive those outcomes. Review workflows across the entire community, not just within specific venues of care for specific clinicians.

6, Test thoroughly

It’s really important to test products before going live, which provides the opportunity to catch problems and address concerns. These are issues you don’t have to experience that in a live environment.

7. Plan for ongoing transformation

It is unrealistic to expect a perfect EHR configuration before launching. Start with a solid foundation that you can continue to evolve and optimize. It is an extension of an organization’s commitment to continuous improvement.

8. Train on new workflows, not features and functions

Don’t just train clinicians on specific modules of the system, but rather focus on the outcomes you are trying to achieve, new workflows to support those efforts and how the system supports those workflows.

 9. Offer multiple training options

When it comes to training on a new EHR, one size doesn’t fit all. Our clients often offer a combination of e-learning and role-based classroom training. Teams also engage clinicians as “super users” to build in-house capacity for after the rollout.

10. Don’t reinvent the wheel

Optimizing an EHR is simple when you can easily adopt best practices from other organizations. Allscripts Client Outcomes Collaboration Program (COCP) features ready-to-use tool kits with workflows and clinical performance management (CPM) reports associated with outcomes proven successful by Sunrise clients. One of the most active users, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (Boone, North Carolina, U.S.A), has adopted several tool kits.

Implementation experiences are as different as the organizations who have them. What tips would you add to this list?

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About the author

As President of Allscripts International and Sunrise, Rich Berner oversees all International operations and growth, as well as the Sunrise business unit, which provides healthcare organizations with technology to achieve world-class outcomes including operational efficiencies, improved financial performance, and better patient care. Prior to joining Allscripts, Berner served as Senior Vice President at Caradigm, a Microsoft/GE joint venture, where he led the client organization, driving customer value and shaping the vision for the company’s solutions. Prior to joining Caradigm in July 2012, Berner served in a number of executive roles at Cerner Corporation where he and his teams delivered results for clients that transformed patient care—often times leading to industry awards for their use of health IT to improve patient safety. Most recently, he led a number of Cerner’s Agile Business Units and launched emerging businesses. Berner also led Cerner’s Middle East and Africa operations from Dubai and served as vice president and general manager for Cerner’s Academic and Children’s Hospital clients. Before joining Cerner, Berner was a partner at TechEmpower, a strategy consulting and custom software developer, where he invented and sold one of the the company’s first commercial eLearning product, and led major initiatives in the areas of business development and strategy & operations. Prior to TechEmpower, Berner served as Chief Operating Officer for FreeDrive, where he helped pioneer the online storage market. Berner began his career as a software engineer at Tellabs, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Internal and External Communications Inc.

2 COMMENTS on 10 strategies for successful EHR implementations

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Anand says:

05/04/2016 at 11:11 am

I agree 100%. Very helpful pointers.

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James B Saxon says:

05/04/2016 at 11:20 pm

Solid points showing a true knowledge of the difficulties in keeping a technology with legacy initiative on track!

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