Electronic Health Record Implementation Guide

Vladlen Shulepov posted on Dec 28, 2021, edited on Dec 29, 2021

Electronic health record systems help to provide patient-centric medical services and facilitate management tasks for practitioners. EHRs are a secure and fast way to access medical information and improve the quality of medical care. Nowadays, the EHR market is blowing. It’s projected to reach more than USD 47 billion at the end of 2027.

electronic health record market size

Implementing EHR to a medical facility can be a lucrative decision as EHRs save the labor of medical assistance and promote preventive medicine. In this article, we discuss stages of EHR implementation and how to make the best out of them.

Why is EHR better than paper charts?

Medical facilities widely adopt electronic health record systems. Statistical data reveals that in 2017 86% of office-based physicians have adopted EHR.Critical drivers for EHR adoption include:

electronic health record market size

The popularity of electronic health record systems continues to grow, and the government supports its implementation. Digital services, if implemented with consistency, make life easier for patients and healthcare providers. So, we’ve described key stages of EHR implementation below for those who want to learn more.

Before implementing an electronic health record system

The main goals of implementing an EHR system are to lower operational costs and improve medical services’ quality. You need to clearly understand what tools will help you to achieve these goals. Learn more about best practices of using EHR systems and acquire knowledge of its unique requirements.

Feature requirements

Each software has a unique functionality that aims for clear goals. The number of features you need for your EHR will determine development and implementation costs. So you should choose only the features that bring expected benefits. EHR systems basic feature set includes:

  • data entry and data access tools,
  • scheduling,
  • patient management,
  • automated reports,
  • task management, etc.

Security requirements

Electronic health record systems interact with protected health information (PHI), including medical history, social security number, name, address, phone number, insurance details, and more. The HIPAA Privacy Rule protects this information. Any software that has access to PHI should add layers of protection to be able to work legally. Such security features include:

  • multi factor authentication,
  • access control,
  • password check,
  • data backups,
  • data encryption at rest and in transit,
  • IP-blockers, virus protection, etc.

Legal compliance

According to studies, users don’t trust software providers in following their privacy policies.
For medical institutions, data safety is an even more significant concern. If cybercriminals steal or corrupt data, the recovery may cost healthcare facilities time, reputation, and money. That’s why adhering to industry regulations is crucial for the EHR system. The Healthcare industry should comply with the following regulations to avoid penalties:

  • EHR specification standards: HL7 standards, including Clinical Context Management Specification and Clinical Document Architecture.
  • Common data protection standards: GDPR, ISO.
  • Industry standards: HIPAA Privacy Rule.

It’s best to handle legal compliance before implementing an EHR system to eliminate correction costs and additional development.

Stages of EHR implementation: a simple guide

Implementing EHR requires time and thorough planning. Whether you’re a healthcare provider or you want to build your EHR to market it, you should know how to implement EHR properly. Our electronic health record implementation guide includes the following steps:

  • Create an implementation plan
  • Define an implementation team
  • Assess budget
  • Prepare infrastructure
  • Provide education system
  • Evaluate EHR performance
  • Improve your system
  • Provide support

Stage 1. Preparation

One of the essential stages of EHR implementation is preparing the existing system and staff to perform the digital switch. Stage one includes several steps.

Step 1.Create an implementation plan

An electronic health record implementation plan is a list of main steps that a healthcare organization follows when rolling out an EHR system. Usually, healthcare organization executives take part in the creation of this plan.

Before implementing an EHR system in a hospital or clinic, ensure the facility can support the procedure. Map a road to your EHR implementation to understand what needs to be done and at what time. Outdated medical systems may not be ready for data transfer or increased bandwidth.

It would help if you defined additional manipulations for successful EHR implementation. It would be great to outline key functionality that a health institution requires and define metrics to evaluate whether the implementation is successful or needs improvements. Also, it would be best if you established workflow for the EHR system, including data entry, scheduling, billing, and communication with patients.

Step 2. Define an implementation team

For an effective EHR implementation, you’ll need well-established communication among stakeholders. Assign executives to lead the implementation process and provide quick responses in case of possible complexities.

lectronic health record implementation guide

Step 3. Assess budget

Electronic health record systems positively affect the return on investment because it promotes operational efficiency, resulting in cost reduction. According to The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, the standard yearly budget for an EHR system is USD 8 thousand.

When defining your budget for the EHR system, consider additional spending that may occur. EHR implementation may cost you an extra USD 6 thousand depending on your requirements. Usually, expenses associated with security and maintenance are omitted by ignorance. But a carefully planned budget can help you mitigate unexpected spendings in time. Include to your budget list:

  • planned system updates,
  • customization fees,
  • training program,
  • additional hardware,
  • certifications expenses,
  • integration costs (cloud storage, etc.),
  • consultancy fees.

Step 4. Prepare infrastructure

Whether you implement web-based or on-premises EHR applications, your information technology infrastructure should be well-prepared. The infrastructure of a medical facility should incorporate security and communication protocols in case of unexpected issues to provide reliable and consistent uptime. Make sure your EHR system is compliant with security and privacy protocols.

If you implement an EHR system on-premises, check if it’s enough hardware in the facility. You may need additional servers to support the system or mobile devices for medical stuff.

You should also prepare a healthcare organization’s legacy system for data transfer. If the institution follows the Common Data Model for healthcare providers, data transfer may be smoother than switching from paper-based documentation. Anyways, when planning data transfer, it’s worth considering:

  • data volumes (what will be transferred and how much space is needed for backups),
  • data entry procedures,
  • data validation.

Stage 2. During implementation

With an arranged plan in hand, you can start EHR implementation. The second stage of EHR implementation requires continuous support to help patients and medical staff use the software and address other occurred issues.

Step 5. Provide education system

Educating personnel on using the electronic health record system speeds up the implementation process and provides better services as fast as possible. Training sessions for medical staff should be comprehensive and practical.

Firstly, assess the overall level of technical experience of medical workers. Then develop both theoretical and practical education modules to help the staff adapt quicker. You might need to provide training for basic computer skills as well. Try to encourage employees to use the new system during appointments to see EHR system benefits in practice.
Explain to the personnel how to address patients frequently asked questions about EHR features, safety, and security.

It’s best to provide an education source that workers can access personally when some issues occur. Full instructions will help medical staff become more independent and combat frustration when minor error handling is required.

Step 6. Evaluate EHR performance

Assess EHR system performance according to metrics established at the beginning of implementation. If everything goes well, you did a great job. When your EHR system is on, you should pay attention to the feedback received from the personnel and patients. The users may point out some mistakes or give ideas on how to improve the interface or performance. Your EHR system should be user-friendly to help people be more productive.

Stage 3. Post implementation management

After the successful launch, provide further maintenance and improvement of your EHR system.

Step 7. Improve your system

Once you are satisfied that your system is stable and significant issues have been addressed, you can plan for further improvements. It is essential to understand that implementing the EHR system is an ongoing process that includes periodic optimization and additional training. The areas to improve after the launch include:

  • Employee productivity. Set practical goals for medical staff to encourage them to improve productivity.
  • Profitability. Assess return on investments to understand EHR efficiency in terms of money.
  • Patients’ comfort. Make sure patients feel confident and interested in using the EHR system.
  • Feature improvement. Make primary operations as easy as possible or improve your system with advanced technology such as artificial intelligence, etc.

Step 8. Provide support

Enhance user experience with a responsive support team. The quicker and more successfully you answer user questions, the more satisfied they are and more likely to become your regular customer. If you’re a software provider, you should support healthcare facilities on time. For healthcare providers who use EHR vendor services, make sure you sort out the post-implementation support period and consider additional fees for the support.

How we can help with EHR implementation

Our team of developers successfully delivered multiple healthcare applications, including management tools. We have 2+ years of building stable and secure software solutions and know all of the nuances for healthcare software development.

One of our healthcare projects is called Kego. Kego is a healthcare application for connecting patients and doctors remotely. The application safely works with patients’ sensitive data because it’s HIPAA compliant.

stages of ehr implementation

Our team built the application from scratch and provided all required features, including appointment management, video conferencing, and a payment system. As a result, our client received a stable and cost-effective remote healthcare tool which satisfies patients’ needs and provides a healthcare facility with income.

Our expert analysts and developers can lead you through stages of EHR implementation without hassle. Provide us with your unique requirements, and we will set up a thorough implementation plan.

If you’re interested in building an EHR system from scratch, we can help you launch your MVP within three months and provide post-development support.

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Key takeaways

An electronic health record system is an advanced tool for the efficient workflow of healthcare providers. Medical institutions who postpone EHR implementation risk falling behind the proactive world and losing in the competitive struggle.

EHR system implementation needs preliminary preparations. Healthcare providers should clearly understand what they want to achieve with the new system, and software providers should consider compliance requirements. If you’re going to roll out your EHR successfully, follow in stages of EHR implementation and acquire its benefits.

FAQs


What is the step-by-step process for implementing an EHR?

Implementing EHR requires time and thorough planning. Whether you’re a healthcare provider or you want to build your EHR to market it, you should know how to implement EHR properly. Our electronic health record implementation guide includes the following steps:

  • Create an implementation plan
  • Define an implementation team
  • Assess budget
  • Prepare infrastructure
  • Provide education system
  • Evaluate EHR performance
  • Improve your system
  • Provide support

What are the critical stages of EHR implementation?

EHR system implementation needs preliminary preparations. Healthcare providers should clearly understand what they want to achieve with the new system, and software providers should consider compliance requirements. Key stages of EHR implementation include:

  • Preparation
  • Implementation
  • Post-implementation management

What is an EHR implementation plan?

An electronic health record implementation plan is a list of main steps that a healthcare organization follows when rolling out an EHR system. Usually, healthcare organization executives take part in the creation of this plan.


Are you looking for professionals to implement EHR fast and smoothly?
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