Whether you are making the switch from paper charts to electronic health records (EHR) or just moving to a new EHR system, the EHR implementation will have a major impact on every process within the practice. To ensure a smooth transition, plan ahead and design EHR workflows that will maximize productivity and efficiency for your practice.
Start the process of workflow redesign by defining the current workflow in your practice. Collaborate with physicians and staff members across the practice or organization to design EHR workflows that will accommodate your established goals and maximize productivity. Take into account even the smallest details—such as which forms are used for documentation—in order to prevent headaches during the go-live process. Define the key indicators that you want to measure before and after go-live and measure those indicators to establish a baseline. As you define your current workflow, look for existing problems. This will help you identify the functionality you need in an EHR to overcome those problems.
After current workflows have been defined and evaluated, establish goals for future workflows, such as the achievement of Meaningful Use or Patient-Centered Medical Home recognition. Your EHR vendor should provide you with best practices processes, and should assist you in reengineering workflows in preparation for the EHR implementation. Be sure to ask about a vendor’s best practices processes and implementation services before you select an EHR.