20 Sep How to Select and Manage Your EHR Implementation Team
Now that you’ve decided to add an EHR and practice management system to your optometry or ophthalmology practice, don’t forget to focus on one of the most critical requirements for a successful outcome—selecting and managing your EHR implementation project team.
By choosing the best internal leadership team, focusing on good communications, creating a detailed project plan, setting realistic, measurable goals, and devoting sufficient time for deployment and training, your move to a new eye care software can be a smooth transition for your practice.
Moving to a new EHR system takes time, patience, and commitment. As with any new process, it often requires a change in many areas, including employee attitudes and behaviors. Even though your staff may agree with the concept, several may have a low tolerance for change.
Let’s examine three critical phases—planning, communicating, and training—that will guide you as you select your team and transition to a new EHR system.
EHR Implementation Phase 1: Planning
During this phase, you should prepare as much as possible and gather all the necessary tools before transitioning. The following steps will help guide you during the planning phase.
- Designate a project manager. This person should have the skills, training, and time to form, lead, and facilitate groups. The project manager (doctor, office manager, or office administrator) should develop the project plan to coordinate and track the implementation issues, deficiencies, decisions, and tasks assigned by your team members.
- Form a project team/committee with people who will embrace change, contribute enthusiastically, and have the respect of their peers. Implementing an EHR system should not be driven solely by IT—implementation requires involvement and commitment from every level of your practice.
- Define and set realistic, measurable project goals and objectives. Prioritize them based on what will provide the most value to your practice.
- Develop a clear definition/goal of what you want the EHR system to accomplish. Identify what resources you need, including budgets, people, and timelines. Make decisions based on the process that supports your goals and objectives.
- Analyze every function of every job to understand how your staff accomplished those tasks with your old EHR and practice management system.
- Develop a comprehensive road map of office workflows and processes, including office modifications, hardware installations, software configurations, ophthalmic equipment, image management integrations, backup systems, and entering old patient data into the new EHR system.
- Decide if you want to move to a cloud-based environment. Ask the EHR vendor how secure your data is and if your data will be encrypted on your cloud database and not shared with other practices. Does the software have multi-platform capabilities? Will the software scale from a small office to a large multi-physician, multi-location? You never know when your business may expand.
- Talk with at least one or more practices that implemented the software you are considering. Meet with doctors and high-level users and talk about their experiences.
- Request a working demo to play around in the software vendor’s EHR sandbox. The vendor can give you control during the online demo and ask the vendor to allow you to enter data.
“Our EHR data conversion and implementation process were very smooth and easy with MaximEyes.com. The implementation checklists, onboarding sheets, and updates were extremely helpful.” –Peter Falk, OD (read his success story)
EHR Implementation Step 2: Communicating
The second phase is communicating—perhaps the most important one. You want to update your staff with the most current plan continually. The following steps will help you create a mental checklist so you don’t let the important details slip away.
- Energize your staff. Always maintain momentum and enthusiasm, or you might see some resistance from staff. Read the 14 Steps for Keeping Eye Care Staff Happy, Engaged & Productive blog to help you collect ideas you can implement.
- Listen to your staff and let them help you develop a solid plan. People will support a plan they were involved in creating.
- Communicate with your staff. Ongoing communication is essential, so meet with your team at weekly staff meetings. Use email to develop and refine the implementation plan, discuss issues, and update the progress.
- Resolve conflicts effectively by setting goals. Let your team be honest about their concerns and recommendations. People want to be heard. Agree to disagree—healthy disagreements can build better decisions.
- Reinforce that you can’t do this alone. Offer incentives to your staff and address “what’s in it for them.” If you commit to a successful EHR rollout, your staff will move forward with a more positive approach.
“I liked that we had a testing version (sandbox) that we could train on and work with before going live. The sandbox is a huge benefit to setting our staff up for success, not failure.” ~Brad Bodkin, OD (read his success story)
EHR Implementation Step 3: Training
Training is the final phase and is the one that requires the most patience. Learning a new EHR system is never easy; it could take several weeks for you and your staff to become fully efficient again.
- Invest in your staff and prepare them for change. Keep an open mind that not everyone may be able to or is willing to adapt to change. Create a buddy system for your top learners to coach others.
- Assess computer skills since some staff may need to attend an introductory computer class.
- Give your staff time to learn the new software. Introduce new modules over a four to six-month period. If you try to do too much too soon, people will get frustrated and give up.
- Invest in software training for you and your staff. Make sure your staff knows where to find answers to their questions. Training is not an area where you want to scale back and save money.
- Make sure you feel comfortable using your new EHR system alone, with your staff, or in front of patients. It is essential for your EHR system to provide you with a resource center where you can complete module courses, read documents, and watch training videos at your own pace. The more resources you have during this process, the smoother you transition between EHR systems
“The self-guided Learning Center within MaximEyes.com gives our staff the freedom to download how-to documents and guides, view product videos, and complete courses without leaving MaximEyes.com.” –Chet Myers, OD (read his success story)
Eye Care EHR and Practice Management Solutions Tailored to Your Needs
At First Insight, we think a successful EHR and practice management system installation starts by understanding your objectives. By learning about your current challenges and required workflows, we’ll create a detailed project plan that walks you through implementation, system and hardware requirements, optional office modifications, and performance measurements.
Once you have gathered all your ideas and decided how to move forward with your transition, read our blog, 9 EHR Implementation Tips for a Successful Go-Live. We hope you feel prepared to create a team that will root for you and your practice during this transition.
Request more information to see how MaximEyes.com eye care EHR software and other practice management business tools offer the support you need to run an efficient and profitable practice.