Among many reasons why EHR implementations fail, one that comes up repeatedly is the perception that the project was an IT-driven project – a system chosen and implemented without significant input from those who would be using it most. A lack of operational involvement. Three things are key to establishing governance, involving the operational team and gaining acceptance of the world that new EHR users will be expected to live and thrive in:
- Getting the right people into the proper roles
The best physician champions are not ‘picked’ at the start of the project, the surface as the project begins to move forward. There are some people who not only have an interest in and aptitude for these types of projects, but their natural energy and positive excitement can conjure up the same enthusiasm in others. Those are the people, or influencers, who you want leading and running these projects. In many instances, multiple application team members can excel at their jobs for very different reasons. You may have one that is exceptionally knowledgeable about the intricacies of the build while the other who came from Operations and possesses a detailed understanding of the workflow. Later in the project, when a principal trainer needs to be chosen, which will make the better trainer? The decision may ultimately come down to a variety of factors including application or workflow knowledge, but the communication skill set and which one resonates better with end users and will help them adopt the technology better may be the deciding factor.
- Empowering people to make and take responsibility for decisions
It’s imperative to find people who are not only empowered to make decisions but can accept the responsibility and accountability for those decisions. Create a culture where there is an acceptance of the concept that sometimes a decision is based on the best information available at the time to move forward, but that it may need to be revisited at a later date when more and better information is available. When people are in decision-making roles, they must be experienced, knowledgeable and decisive with conviction. Some people are fit for that role while others are not. It is the responsibility of project leaders to determine which individuals possess the necessary leadership and decision-making skill sets to keep the project moving forward successfully.
- Communicating with and ensuring operational involvement in project activities including, but not limited to, workflow design, content development, and standardization, testing, and training.
Involving operations in project activities is one of the most critical pieces to a successful EHR implementation. While IT team members may know the ins and outs of the system, operational team members are the folks who will be using it daily to do their jobs. Who better to ask when it comes to workflow decisions and content development? When the time comes to create test scripts and training materials, involving the operational folks will ensure that you are testing the most relevant ‘day in the life’ scenarios and using examples for training that is relevant to their practice — cross-functional planning and vetting help to ensure success in both.
To learn more about operational involvement, be sure to download our Avoiding Common EHR Implementation Mistakes whitepaper.