1. Build a Strong Team: Begin by appointing a project manager to oversee the process. Select multidisciplinary team members with strong communication skills, since communication is critical for a smooth implementation. Be sure to select at least one team member from each of the following areas: billing, clinical, IT and management.
2. Analyze staff roles and responsibilities: Implementation will put a strain on resources, so take the time to optimize staff performance before the go-live. Make expectations about staff roles in the go-live clear, and communicate to staff that EHR will change their jobs, no matter their roles. If staff members need remedial training to get up to par, begin that training as early as possible.
3. Analyze Workflows: Define existing workflows and processes and develop new workflows with EHR in mind. Be sure to involve all stakeholders in this process.
4. Lay out the Framework: Confirm at the start of the project what aspects of the software have been purchased and decide what will be implemented at each phase. This would include decisions such as whether to go paperless with an EMR at go-live or whether to include ePrescribing in the implementation process. This will also help you determine who will be responsible for each task and when the task should be completed.
5. Stay in Tune with Progress: Communication is very important in this process, so staying in tune with the entire team via status reports is vital. Plan the project with short-term goals that will allow everyone to warm up to changes, and communicate regularly about the progress of those goals.