Lessons Learned Implementing an EMR – Part I

Research– do your research.  When I first started out as a project manager my sole responsibility was to implement an EMR. I searched the internet and every article I could find where I could glean some advice what was required to successfully implement an EMR.  The time I took to perform this research felt like I was “playing around” until I realized how important the data I was obtaining was going to be to the project.

Compile Your Data – I then took all that data and compiled it into a list of “Steps to Make the EMR a Success”.  I presented this list to the executive steering committee of the project.  I needed to ensure I had captured all the aspects necessary to achieve a successful implementation.  I even came up with a slogan that I taped on the door to my office and stood behind 100%.  The success of the EMR project is not just up to the Physicians, the Management Team, the EMR Team, Medical Records, the Receptionists, the Nursing Staff or Medical Assistants…It is up to the Entire Practice!” (http://wiki.galenhealthcare.com/Successful_Implementation)

Review Your List Often – whether it is posting the list on your wall, your door or in your notebook it does not matter.  As long as you post somewhere you will see it often and refer to the items you have listed.  Use it as a checklist if necessary.  The idea is not to forget or lose track of all the little things that will contribute to making your job easier.  I posted mine on my wall, next to my project calendar.  I knew that what I had included on that list was vital to truly being successful.

Set Desired Goals – this is not as easy as it sounds, and if you are already started in this process you know that better than anyone how tough it is.  There will be goals as to how your group will require the data to be entered, will text boxes and/or dictation be allowed.  Also set goals as to what your desired outcomes will be.  Do you want to capture 80% of your results directly into the EMR?  These are the kinds of things you will need to consider in the beginning.  I will emphasize here that this is not an easy or quick task that can be completed overnight.  Ask the question what were the driving forces that lead the group to implementing an EMR?  You will use these goals to determine the priority of your focus.

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