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Your EHR Implementation is complete! The system is running, and now it’s time to move on to Optimization. Not only do you have a live system to support and maintain, but you have the task to improve the system to better suit your organizational needs. You have lists, trackers, and tickets…all with requests for customization, enhanced workflows, software upgrades, acquisition additions…and they keeping pouring in.

So where do you begin?

Start with optimization request consolidation. It is imperative to have all requests centralized in one shared tracker. Ideally, this can be tracked in SharePoint or another centrally accessible location where requests can be entered, reviewed and tracked. It’s never too soon to start since optimization requests will begin coming in and will need to be documented before go-live. The following key information should be included on your tracker:

  • Requesting Department/Person
  • Responsible Build Application
  • Date of Request
  • Detailed reason for request and impact/ROI
  • FTE hours and/or expense needed to complete request
  • Evaluation Date
  • Due Date
  • Prioritization Field

There should be a direct correlation between your optimization efforts and the metrics that your organization values most.  Questions to consider include:

  • Do changes need to be made to a patient check-in workflow to increase patient satisfaction?
  • Do providers and staff have the system tools necessary to be productive?
  • Are the correct work queues in place to bring A/R back to pre-implementation levels?

To thoroughly evaluate and prioritize the optimization efforts for each functional area, create small joint Operational/IT stakeholder teams (Inpatient, Ambulatory, Home Health/Hospice, Rev Cycle, etc.), and have the teams prioritize the optimization efforts based on the highest impact/return for investment that coincide with your organization’s metrics. Meet regularly to re-evaluate pending items while considering any new requests that are added to the list.

Finally, you will need to determine how your organization plans to provide adequate staffing to complete requests and how you will allocate staff to work on the optimization requests. Will a separate Optimization Team work the requests or will they be distributed to team members that are maintaining the system and working tickets? It is preferable to have a separate team work on optimization issues and large upgrades, whenever possible. Many organizations bring in experienced contract build analysts to assist and supplement the Optimization Team after go-live, during a large upgrade, or during acquisitions, especially when the organization is on a tight timeline or has a large backlog of requests.

Optimization is the ongoing process of customizing and improving your organization’s EHR. It’s very important to establish an organized process for evaluating requests with stakeholders and ensure that optimization efforts are prioritized against the organization’s valued metrics.

Optimum Healthcare IT’s EHR Implementation practice has the people, expertise, and experience to ensure that your EHR is optimized and running smoothly. Click here to learn more and download the brochure.

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