EMR Implementation – Help or Headache?

Lisa P. Shock, MHS, PA-C

President/CEO Utilization Solutions in Healthcare, Inc.

CompHealth Consultant

 

As a clinician, I have used more than 5 Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems in my career.  I have experienced a full on practice implementation as well as a transition from one system to another, all while continuing to service patients and provide direct care.  Maintaining patient flow, documentation and care coordination is a challenge when you are navigating software that is not always intuitive.

A recent FierceEMR article discusses the worst EMR implementation sins and as I was reviewing this, I thought of my colleagues at CompHealth.  When implementing an EMR it is absolutely critical to get all members of the team involved.  Redesigning  processes like prescription refills, lab requisitions and x-ray requests are distinctly different within a software framework as opposed to a paper order.  Coordination of smooth messaging from one provider to a nurse or from a front desk staffer to a provider must be well orchestrated and efficient.

While the EMR transition is occurring, engaging temporary help can be a revenue saving benefit.  Practices cite decreases in patient flow and therefore decreased overall revenue as a primary deterrent to EMR implementation.  When faced with fixed overhead costs, fear of lost revenue (from decreased patient volume) during transition is a reality.

One of the deadly sins quoted by FierceEMR is failure to participate in training.  This occurs for many reasons but is also an expenditure for the practice when purchasing an EMR system.  Locums-tenens providers have the unique advantage of traveling to several practice locations within a calendar year.  This exposure to different settings and specialties makes them uniquely qualified to help with EMR transitions.  CompHealth staffers and recruiters can tailor provider placement to the clinical demand as well as the practice environment, and utilizing a locums provider who is already familiar with a particular EMR software can be invaluable to maintain patient volume, while also assisting in some of the ancillary curbside training that we all experience in our clinical careers.

Reference:: http://www.fierceemr.com/story/worst-emr-implementation-sins-lack-communication-shortsightedness/2011-09-08

 

Lisa P. Shock, MHS, PA-C, CompHealth consultant, is a seasoned PA who has used EMRs since her student days at the Duke PA program in the late 90s. She enjoys part time clinical primary care practice and is the President and CEO of Utilization Solutions in Healthcare – a specialty consultant company for physician practices and hospitals, offering a wide range of services to help implement and improve upon the utilization of PAs in the health care system. Contact her at lisa@pushpa.biz

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