You’ve been waiting for this moment…your practice is heavily invested in new optical software, you and your staff have trained so hard with the new system, and your practice is finally ready to go-live. We hate to tell you this, but EHR implementation can be rough for your entire practice, so you can’t go into it with unrealistic expectations! Today we'll go through 3 of the most common unrealistic expectations doctors, and staff, have when going-live with their new software.
Everyone Getting Used to Electronic Records
“My staff took the training! They should know what they are doing!” – that’s unrealistic to expect from your staff. You have to understand that changing up what your staff is used to doing can be overwhelming for them, especially those that have gotten so used to paper records. Instead, try taking the following suggestions for a slower transition.
- Chart only new patients electronically while the patient is in the office. The established patients can be entered at the end of the day, then slowly increase volume of electronically charted patients.
- Chart only particular kinds of exams electronically with the patient present, i.e. only comprehensive exams, or only CL Fittings, then increase to include more exam types.
- Chart one patient per day electronically with the patient present, and increase as you go.
It’s also important to communicate regularly. Just because you’re ready to go-live doesn’t mean that your staff won't have new questions or even suggestions to make things better. Conduct regular meetings to get everybody on the same page. They don’t have to be long, but you should use these meetings to encourage your staff to ask questions and to ask for help when needed.
Never Needing Help from Your Vendor Again
You’re fully implemented, so you don’t ever have to talk to your vendor again, right? Wrong! As we mentioned, some of your staff may still face uncertainty with the new software. Don’t forget to continually use your vendor’s resources such as quizzes, knowledge base, and training videos until all of your staff is familiar with the system. And, if your practice is participating in Meaningful Use right at go-live, or even after, you should get help from your vendor to help meet the program’s objectives and measures.
A Smooth Go-Live
We all know that life isn’t a bed of roses. While it’s not impossible for a practice to have a smooth go-live, one should not simply expect it. You should expect to face some hurdles even if you think you’re prepared. But don’t let that discourage you or your staff. Everyone is still new to the system and it will take some getting used to. While you are working through those hurdles, it is a good idea to notify your patients of the new system so you can request their patience for any delays.
Change management can be tricky for practices with staff that are set in the old way of doing things. Luckily, we’ve put together an eBook to help office managers and practice owners cope with change management. Download our guide for EHR implementation!