Steps to make your EHR project a success! Part I

When an organization starts out on the long road of implementing an electronic health record the project manager will typically research what steps the organization needs to take to make their EHR project a success.  Learning from others is the most efficient use of resources. So what are the factors that those who have gone before you feel make an EHR project successful?  I will post a series of articles covering these many factors.

Part I- Organization Planning & Internal Governance

Developing a project charter is the first step. The project charter has several components that include the project description and business objectives and success criteria. This is an important part of the charter, if you do not know what you are hoping to accomplish or know what success of the project means to the organization the chances of reaching success will be difficult at best.  Other components of a project charter include listing the stakeholders, vision, project scope (another important piece, as scope creep will happen without it), assumptions and dependencies, constraints, milestones, business risks, resources and finally an approval section where the executive team’s signatures will be placed to demonstrate their approval and acceptance of the project charter.

The development of a formal project plan with identified milestones will assist not only the project manager but the executive steering committee to determine the health of the project. The creation of a great project plan includes receiving input from the project team.  This allows each member to buy into the journey that are about to embark upon.

The next component of planning for your organization’s EHR project is developing a communication strategy.  A well thought-out strategy that includes formal communication channels is crucial.  Once the project picks up speed the lack of communication can cause unnecessary hurdles.

Some additional components of organization planning and internal governance are determining a decision matrix that outlines how specific types of decisions will be made and ultimately approved.  Forming your committees that include providers, executives, and clinic leadership will facilitate the support required for your EHR project to be a success.  Having a commitment from the members of these committees is crucial as you may need their backing upon occasions throughout the project.

The final component is establishing a solid infrastructure and reliable network.  Addressing any infrastructure concerns before you begin your project is essential because once you pick up speed on the project, this area risks being left unattended which can cause hardship on reaching your goal of achieving SUCCESS!

Watch for Part II – Exceptional Project Management and Control

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