Like many healthcare leaders, you are likely wrestling with the idea of undertaking an EHR project of some form – whether a first time installation, a migration to a new platform, or seeking to truly optimize your current solution.
After witnessing many successful EHR projects, and helping rescue quite a few that have faltered, I now believe there is a way to evaluate the likelihood of success very early in the process… even before any commitments are made or dollars are spent.
It’s a fairly simplistic, yet effective diagnostic that explores three areas–your savviness, your willingness, and your readiness.
Shall we give it a shot?
How savvy are you in understanding and accepting the fact that technology will not solve process issues on its own?
Simply deploying a technical solution in your current environment will not resolve underlying process or efficiency issues that exist. Quite the opposite… doing so will subject these pain points to the spotlight where they will likely become even larger wounds.
Falling into the trap of assuming your savviness and shrugging this off with an “of course” is easy to do and all too common. Be careful!
Being truly savvy requires continual advocacy for the idea that technology is not the solution – it is merely a part of the overall solution. This is meaty message to consistently share with your leadership team colleagues and all employees involved or impacted by the EHR project.
Too much focus on technology as the “savior” can doom a project. Process and people make the technology shine… and the project successful.
So, how would you rate your savviness?
How willing are you to focus on people and process before the technology?
A technology tool is only as good as the people using it and the underlying processes that it supports.
It’s important not to be so enamored with any given technical solution that you overlook the more important components of the project. Getting your team engaged early, and ferociously supporting them throughout the human change management cycle, is a positive indicator of future success. Similarly, working with your people to understand, document, and assess existing workflows will position your organization for success in terms of leveraging an EHR to its fullest capability.
It’s powerful to know “the good, the bad, and the ugly” of your current state processes as you contemplate an investment in technology. Here’s the kicker – only your engaged people can effectively make this happen.
How would you rate your willingness to focus on people and process first?
How ready are you to fully invest in workflow change to complement the technology?
Knowing your current process state is very important. Being ready to make adjustments to those processes to optimize the EHR is essential!
Entering a project with an open mind to process change generally stabilizes the cost of an EHR installation as it allows many features to be used “out of the box” with minimal customization around existing practices. Additionally, these systems are built with many best practice workflows in mind. Implementing these recommended workflows can ultimately help your organization’s efficiency.
An important reminder here is the huge human component of process change. Do not discount the coaching necessary to effectively change existing processes that have been embedded for years and developed by tenured resources. Process change is trying for your team in the short term, but mutually rewarding in the longer term.
It is smart to invest in workflow change as part of an EHR initiative. It is extremely wise to invest equally in supporting your people with consistent, positive encouragement.
How would you rate your readiness to fully invest in process change?
There it is… my recommended early diagnostic for the success of your EHR project. Though subjective, I strongly believe these important questions lay the groundwork for proper positioning and timing of your investment in an EHR initiative.
Are you savvy, willing, and ready?
Always here to help,