Checklist for Implementation of Electronic Health Records (EHR)

June 2, 2023

Implementing EHR is a complex process for many healthcare facilities. Transitioning to an electronic system from manual paperwork is complicated, time-consuming, and labor-intensive. The EHR solution simplifies workflow, improves communication, improves patient outcomes, and provides more data-driven insights in the long run. Moreover, integration of EHR solution with Telehealth improves patient engagement and experience.  Healthcare organizations can easily transition to digital records with the right implementation strategy and support from key stakeholders.

Nearly 96% of healthcare organizations in the US use EHRs because of their benefits. Here are some of its considerable benefits:

  1. Providers get all patient information from one source.
  1. Allow patients to book appointments according to their convenience.
  1. Authorities reduce concern about the privacy of medical records due to software.

It is proven that digital mediums are more secure and accurate, and that's why many healthcare associations are moving towards digitization. Practice management and EHR solution are the two main things every medical practice should consider.

EHR Implementation Requires Time

It takes work to establish a standard timeline for implementing an EHR. In creating an EHR software implementation plan, experts involved in the process can provide solid estimates regarding the time needed to complete the implementation. It reduces some of the uncertainty regarding timing.

What are the Steps Involved in Implementing an EHR? Here's the Checklist

It's critical to examine the steps involved in the EHR implementation process in greater depth after moving past the broad roadmap or checklist provided here. The following are the typical processes involved in implementing an EHR.

Establish a Project Leadership Team

Leadership plays a major role in the success of any project. An EHR solution implementation project team generally includes a CIO, project manager, lead physician, superusers, and department liaisons.

A physician will lead the clinical side of the project, ensuring staff buy-in. Project managers assign roles, develop communication plans, develop project plans, schedule site visits, and compile activity logs. On the floor, superusers will serve as point people for training and troubleshooting.

Make a Roadmap or Plan

When the assessment stage confirms you're ready. During the planning phase, you must outline all the processes your physicians, practice managers, IT staff, and patients execute. You can use a roadmap to outline the stages of developing your EHR. You can align EHR technology with hospital needs with a roadmap. By filling out a roadmap, you are defining your EHR implementation strategy.

A roadmap can be a checklist, a matrix, or a template depending on complexity. You can use Google Sheets, Trello, Wrike, and Asana for flexible project management. If you work with an IT consultant, they will suggest the most appropriate tools and prepare a roadmap.

Establish a Budget for Your EHR Implementation

To provide a definitive answer, it is necessary to assume the following: It was approximately $15k to $70k more than you expected. A well-defined budget incorporating the following elements should prevent unexpected costs:

  • Hardware and network upgrades
  • Practice overtime and temporary staff
  • Customization consultants from the EHR vendor
  • Vendor training fees
  • Consulting costs
  • Cloud EHRs often include backups and storage

Consider this figure and the elements above when planning your budget.

Migration of Existing Data to Electronic Format from Paper

Per HIPAA regulations, paper records must be retired and disposed of according to the rules. It is recommended that information and documents from external sources be processed according to a plan developed by the team to keep them organized.

EHR data migration involves the following stages:

  • Electronic conversion of paper records
  • Cleansing and verifying data
  • Setup of the EHR database
  • Mapping legacy data to updated database fields
  • Transfer of data to the upgraded system
  • Legacy data testing and verification
  • Updated data inputs are tested and verified

You can reduce data errors by 10% if this process is right.

Educate on Hardware, Software, and Workflow

Inform the staff of the necessary PC and keyboard skills to use the system.  To introduce the team to the system, schedule time for the EHR vendor to present an overview.  Provide staff with hands-on training tailored to their specific responsibilities.  Additional training sessions for super users that go into more depth and troubleshooting.  Provide staff with other training opportunities.  Provide educational materials (cheat sheets, reminders, diagrams).

Launch Preparations

Finally, schedule the implementation. A few weeks before launch, plan every go-live activity. Here's how it works:

Testing of the system. Check your network speed and reliability, data backup processes, and usability.

They are selecting a launch strategy. All patients and functions can be launched on the same day. Even though this scenario minimizes the time spent managing paper records and the system simultaneously, small problems can be quite disruptive. Therefore, many organizations implement the electronic health records (EHR) in separate departments or introduce one function simultaneously.

The day of go-live. Reducing the patient volume and warning them about the transition makes sense. They'll be more patient if there's a delay. Instead of overloading your workers, add more staff.

Evaluation Strategies and Critical Success Factors

The best way to evaluate electronic health records implementation depends on your practice's goals:

  • Assess profitability with ROI calculations
  • Analyze patient throughput
  • Consider the quality of care by surveying patients
  • Assess user adoption and training by observing physicians
  • Assess data input and quality by analyzing error rates

Electronic health records (EHR) implementation is a complex task. If it is done properly, it not only reduces physician burnout but also automates most critical tasks. The checklist will help you in EHR implementation. Moreover, if you are looking for a cloud-based or electronic-based EHR solution, you can check out talkEHR's EHR solution. It is completely reliable and has seamless integration.