Top 5 Reasons Your EHR Implementation WILL Fail

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Implementing a new EHR takes work.  It's no secret that successful implementations take time, they take planning and most importantly they take a practice wide buy-in at all levels to make a change for the better.  Without this willingness from your staff, you’ll undoubtedly experience repeat training, increased complacency and, in extreme cases, unforeseen turnover of some of your best employees.  Let’s face it, there are many office administrators and   providers from all specialties that choose to stay with a sub-par EHR because the mere thought of facing a new EHR Implementation, creates instant panic.  

Realistically, you cannot get rid of your mediocre EHR without going through a new implementation.  And with serious issues like Meaningful Use Stage 2 and ICD-10 facing us, there’s no time like the present to face your fears.  Since this topic is so important to the industry we serve, we’ve created a list called “Top 5 Reasons Your EHR Implementation WILL Fail.”  Read it and memorize it so your next journey is a much better experience.

1. Your Practice Isn’t Ready for Change.

It probably goes without saying, change is one of those things that few people look forward to.  It can be uncomfortable, challenging and many of us, especially when it comes to our workday, take a little longer than others to fully adopt a new routine. Preparing for change by discussing why change is necessary will get everyone mentally prepared and can make a big difference in how your office embraces the challenges they may face during a new EHR implementation.  Making sure those involved have an opportunity to see what’s ahead and a chance to safely speak their mind, can help mitigate the kind of sabotage that so commonly derails new software implementations

2. You Don’t Have a Plan

Jumping into a new EHR implementation without a plan on how things will happen from start to finish can lead to hesitation and uncertainty.  It can be extremely difficult to organize and coordinate several staff members unless they know what to expect in advance.  Many times the vendor you choose can help you come up with a plan for implementation before you begin.  Make sure to ask if this is something they will help you with. This is an extremely important part of the process and should not be skipped under any circumstances.

3. Your Staff Refuses to Learn Something New

If your practice has been using a particular system for a long time and the staff is comfortable doing things a specific way, any workflow that forces them outside of their comfort zone can be troublesome.  Not to mention, new software often comes with new technology that may require a steep learning curve.  Should one or more of your staff decide to refuse these changes, you’re faced with a choice between keeping your staff happy with an EHR that’s not getting the job done or sticking to your guns and implementing the new program you’ve just purchased.  9 times out of 10, we choose to keep our staff happy and ditch implementing a new software. Why would we choose to do that, you ask?  Because staff turnover is a nightmare for any office but even worse if you end up losing quality staff members that add real value to your practice. 

4. Cookie Cutter Training Doesn’t Cut it

With the huge rush by many private practices across the country to adopt EHR and Practice management software in the last few years, many vendors were forced to standardize and automate much of the onboarding process for their new customers.  In the interest of cutting costs, implementation training processes became “one size fits all.”  Since most practices are unique in not only “how” but also in “who” they have using the system, these cookie-cutter implementations don’t always fit.  When you are grouped into training with 20 other users that are kept from being able to engage as they might need, it’s fairly easy to become confused and zone out.  This may cause extra calls into support or increase the time you spend repetitively reviewing materials that were not clearly covered because the training was too general. 

5. You Just Give Up

When the going gets tough, many practices just give up.  It’s easier and completely natural – especially if a practice has encountered any of the previous four reasons we’ve listed.  More importantly, it’s very probable.  “The tough get going” is not how this story usually ends.  Sometimes, calling it quits during a new EHR implementation doesn’t require any other reason than: It’s just not going right!  The feeling of being completely overwhelmed simply takes over and someone makes the executive decision to pull the plug. 

If you find yourself grabbing for a parachute after signing up for a new EHR, its OK! There are plenty of fish in the sea.  Chalk the experience up as a lesson learned and figure out your next move.  The take away here is, while you’re creating your plan(because you read this article and followed Step 2) for the new EHR just make sure you avoid each of the pitfalls listed here.  Then you’ll be on your way to EHR success!

Written by Matt Kelly

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Matt Kelly has spent the last 6 years working directly with medical practices and medical billing companies to assess and help solve some of the most common and costly practice management and revenue cycle management issues effecting those in healthcare today.  Through the implementation of easy and affordable technology, and proper planning, he has worked with thousands of medical providers to change the way they practice medicine for the better. Areas of expertise include EHR, Practice Management, RCM and Social Media Marketing.

Follow Matt on Twitter: @ExecutiveHIT