Epic Systems – Preparing Staff For EHR Implementation

You’ve performed your due diligence and have chosen Epic Systems as your EHR vendor. Everyone has heard how difficult, frustrating, and exhausting the EHR implementation process can be, and now that you’ve received your project management outline you’re thinking it would be a good time for expert leadership. We can match you with that expert and guide you step-by-step through the process.  Outlined below are some of the techniques employed that can ease your transition and make yours a positive experience.

Perform existing workflows documentation

Documenting your existing workflows is a crucial step in preparing for software implementation. Each staff’s role responsibilities should be documented step-by-step and presented to your EHR Implementation Manager, who will then work with you to analyze what can and should be performed through the EHR software.

Keep staff informed and engaged

This is not necessarily a good time for the “need-to-know” management approach. Change of this magnitude can be upsetting to each of your employees, and the best way to address and alleviate anxiety is to keep everyone up-to-date on the implementation progress. Ways to broadcast information could be a bulletin board in the staff lunch area, periodic Email updates, etc.

Keep records of training and practice sessions

Nothing can sabotage go-live day more than having an employee nervously log-on and demonstrate a lack of preparation. Keeping track of who has attended training and practice sessions with signed log-in sheets is highly recommended (this includes physicians, who can be masters of avoiding software practice). You will have far better preparation if everyone is aware that you are monitoring their initiative.

Admit there will be frustration

Change of this magnitude will be accompanied by some frustration – there is simply no way to avoid it. Acknowledging frustration and encouraging open discussions will help everyone to vent, and sometimes just talking about it can lessen the hand-wringing.

Create quick reference cards for go-live day

A helpful tool is a quick reference card. Ask your EHR Implementation Specialist for the top ten most helpful EHR steps (role-based) and have the list typed up and laminated. These reference cards can be carried in a lab coat pocket or placed near a laptop for ease of use.

Make it fun!

In addition to completing the work required in a normal workday, everyone will soon be responsible for undergoing training for the EHR and practicing for go-live day. This can be tiring to the staff and can create squabbling. One way to assist them is to make it fun! Copy the look of a popular board game and create a poster placed in the break room which shows training and practice benchmarks, using photos of staff to show progress. Create friendly competition with token gifts of achievement. (Example: A gift card for a favorite lunch place, movie tickets, etc.). Have periodic staff appreciation dates where everyone can come together and blow off steam (after-office coffee hour, bowling party, etc). Purchase some certificate paper from the office supply store and create recognition awards customized with employee names.

When go-live week arrives

At the start of each day of go-live week, have your Implementation Manager lead a ten-minute staff huddle. Remind them they are united in the care of the patient, but also in the respect and support of each other.

There are a lot of moving parts to a software implementation of this magnitude. Contact us so we can match you with an experienced professional who can lead you through the process.

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