Many safety net providers and health IT experts agree that assessing your workflow and improving it before you introduce new EHR technology are some of the most important steps in the health IT implementation process. This section describes how you and your staff can work together to “map” your workflow, improve it overall, and adapt it to accommodate an EHR. The end result will be a new way of working built around an EHR that improves your organization’s efficiency, safety, and quality.
Every day, safety net providers follow various workflows to care for patients, document the care and services provided, and work with outside groups such as pharmacies. Assessing your organization’s current workflows and planning future workflows can help you choose the right EHR and create a system that works well for you. Staff can play a key role in determining your organization’s workflow, making a team approach very useful.
Adapting workflow to include an EHR starts with documenting the existing process at your organization. To document the process, observe and interview staff to capture their workflows accurately. Then create a flowchart to determine which processes are efficient and which need improvement. Use this information to design new workflows that meet your organization’s needs and take advantage of the automation an EHR offers. Finally, it is important to test and refine workflows before the EHR launch and over time. Each of these components of adapting workflow is described below.