What are some key lessons learned from previous implementations?
Key lessons to learn from past EHR implementations focus around issues such as effectively using the EHR to improve the quality of care, changing workflow in the office environment, improving practice efficiency, and achieving a return on investment. These lessons learned stem from EHR experiences in both the inpatient and ambulatory environments. An example of an effective implementation of an EHR is that of Riverpoint Pediatrics, a solo practice run by Dr. Armand Gonzalzles in Chicago, IL. In his application for the HIMSS Davies Award (PDF - 157KB), Dr. Gonzalzles provides specific lessons learned from his practice's EHR implementation. One of the key lessons learned is that the EHR must be efficient, which results from a few important factors. First, the EHR system must be user-friendly and easy to integrate into the practice in order to operate as a time-saving mechanism. The concept of the EHR as a time-saving device is highly stressed, as this allows the practice to run smoothly while allowing more time to focus on patients. Other important lessons focus on the actual EHR itself. In the case of Riverpoint Pediatrics, steps were taken to carefully review each EHR before selection, ensuring that the EHR was able to be customized, integrated with practice management software, secured, and supported after implementation by the vendor. Lastly, Riverpoint Pediatrics discovered that the having an EHR provided the practice with numerous benefits. A recipient of the 2004 HIMSS Davies Award, Dr. Gonzalzles learned that the incorporation of an EHR into his practice made a significant positive impact upon his return on investment (PDF - 203KB). Not only did his EHR increase revenue at his practice; but it also added new patients to his practice at a rate of 6,000 per week, streamlined his automated billing system, decreased the amount of time spend charting, and reduced patient wait times.
Another implementation also found similar benefits, but in a different patient setting. These lessons learned were experienced in the inpatient setting by Children's Healthcare of Atlanta in two of its hospitals. According to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, their EHR system improves the quality of care in various ways. Occurring simultaneously with the implementation by Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, a study was also established to investigate the impact of the EHR on patient safety, efficiency, quality, satisfaction and acceptance, and customers. These factors were measured through a survey issued to the inpatient nursing staff before and after each "go-live."
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