5 Pitfalls of EMR implementation

August 15, 2017
Categories: Home health, Hospice
Reading Time: 2 minutes
In order to avoid costly mistakes, an EMR implementation needs to be thoroughly planned with a great deal of care. Once all is in place and the critical path is identified, executing on your plan is the key to successful implementation.

The top 5 pitfalls of EMR Implementations are:

1. Not including clinicians/staff in the planning stages. Having clinicians involved from the beginning avoids future issues or conflicts. Considering their thoughts on product selection and implementation will only help with workflow and the ultimate success of the project. This is a major undertaking that affects your entire organization – involve them from Day 1.

2. Expecting your new EMR to be a silver bullet. It’s important to keep in mind that your new EMR is a conversion, not an upgrade. Although your system should ultimately save you time and money, it will not be an instant fix. Many people think an EMR will solve their internal problems, but an EMR will only highlight problems that need to be addressed to improve the organization moving forward.


3. Not dedicating appropriate time for training. A common mistake is undervaluing the importance of training in an implementation project. Failure to provide and engage in training will only allow chaos during go-live.  Practicing workflow-based training with adequate repetition is the key to success. As adult learners, we generally flourish through taking notes and hands-on practice.  Allotting the time to engage in real workflow scenarios in the new system will be the best way to prepare your team for go-live and minimize cash flow struggles once implemented.


4. Thinking it will be the same as your last implementation. Just as the EMR won’t be a quick fix to problems to your organization, it will also require different processes and workflows. The concept of documenting data may seem similar, but they are based on considerably different workflows. Not taking the time to work out the changes from what you do today to how your new process will look on the new EMR, can and will create frustration with your team that will lead to operational inefficiencies and frustrations at go-live.


5. Not asking for extra help.  A detrimental mistake is assuming your organization can implement an EMR without asking for help. Your staff is already engaged with their daily work. Thinking they can take on a conversion, along with learning a new product and dealing with a change in workflow, could lead to a disaster. Bringing in temporary assistants to help during the transitional period can go a long way in decreasing anxiety and burnout during an implementation and go-live period.


“Technology by itself is not a silver bullet and so just because an organization has an EMR or other technologies implemented, does not mean they will be utilized properly. The goal should be to leverage the technologies to their fullest capabilities, integrate them into the culture and operations. This is what makes new technology successful.” — Tarrah Lowry-Schreiner, President & CEO, Sangre de Cristo Hospice & Palliative Care

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