EMR Software Conversion: Plan for a Successful Implementation

Posted by Sharon Chin on Tue, Mar 26, 2013 @ 08:03 AM

Today's guest post comes from Stacey Mayer, an active reader and commentor on VisionWeb's blog. She is an eyecare blogger as well as an optician at Visioniare Eyecare who was recently part of a conversion to a new eyecare EMR roll-out. She is here to talk about her experience and provide tips to practices who are experiencing or planning to go through a conversion. 

Tips for surviving conversion to an electronic medical records (EMR) software system in your eyecare practice

Your practice has chosen a new EMR package, and will soon be converting the whole office. That's great! Everyone has experienced the frustration of looking in multiple places for a patient's folder, so your staff should be looking forward to the arrival of the new system. Right? Well, maybe.

Successful Conversion Begins Early

Practice Management Solutions for EyecareA smooth conversion is going to depend on how you've prepared and enabled your staff. The conversion process will take a substantial amount of time, and copying existing records for easy access in the future, is only a part of the process. Chances are, there are some employees who are more computer savvy than others, while some of the staff are less confident. Here's your chance for everyone to develop into all-stars.

Encourage Your Staff's Sense of Security

Ask your team to choose a leader, (one or more,) to become an early advocate of the software, ensuring a trusted source remains the, "one with the answers," as usual. Think; your employees take pride in doing their jobs well, and switching to new software will make everyone feel like, "newbies." It's more unsettling than just changing the furniture, and that's hard enough. Substantially changing everyone's jobs is going to require added time, effort, and patience.

Preview the New Work Flow

Today's EMR software vendors have excellent teaching tools to help everyone learn to use the new software, before the program is on their workstation.

  1. Approach your new EMR in segments. Instead of seeing the conversion as an elephant stomping into the office, let everyone know you'll be taking just one bite of learning at a time.
  2. Dedicate some time for learning. Plan for team time together without any patients, if possible, even if it's just a few days.
  3. Encourage questions early. It should go without saying, that every staff member should be allowed to ask questions of the trainer, or fellow team members, anytime. Questions are your friend.
  4. Let everyone understand how the work flow will change for each member of the team. As they see how it works for their coworkers, their own confidence will grow. Support their curiosity.
  5. Meet together often. After the last patient of the day is gone, take the time to encourage where needed, and adjust expectations along the way. Take time to praise and encourage each team member for their progress and patience; this is when the attitude for success is nurtured. 
  6. Review and reward each milestone of the process. Discuss what they've learned after each learning module is accomplished; give small gift cards for great remarks, or helpful insights along the way. Ask for comparisons and observations of the new abilities of the software, versus what they've used in the past. Keep your team going!

Today's eye care professionals share more eye health information and dispense more vision care services. Integrated EMR systems will help us better serve our patients, and our communities, more effectively. 

What advice do you have to offer our readers about converting to an EMR software?

The VisionWeb Blog would like to welcome guest bloggers, like Stacey, to contribute to our blog! If you would like to share your experience at your eyecare practice, we want to hear from you. We are open to a range of topics, from utilizing eyecare practice management software to fun ideas at your eyecare practice. Feel free to comment below and we'll reach out to you.

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Tags: Practice Management, Tips & Tools

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