In the fast-paced world of EHR implementation, communication often takes a back seat amidst the whirlwind of planning and execution. However, the significance of EHR communication cannot be overstated. While training is a critical component, keeping end users informed and prepared is equally vital, especially in the months leading up to go-live and the post-implementation phase. In fact, post-live communication often becomes the lifeblood of day-to-day operations within the organization. In this article, we explore the primary types of EHR communication that should be carefully considered, thoughtfully planned, and skillfully executed to ensure a smooth transition for end users in the new EHR.
6 Communication Channels for EHR Implementations:
- Internal Marketing, Pre-Go-Live:
Transitioning to an EHR can be an intimidating prospect for all stakeholders, especially those who have never used such technology. It's imperative to sell the merits of the new system to end users, highlighting its long-term benefits for both them and patients. Resistance to change is natural, and thorough communication is key to winning hearts and minds.
- Change Communications:
Clear and concise communication remains paramount even after the EHR system goes live. Technology evolves, and EHR systems are no exception. When changes are introduced, a well-coordinated Change Management procedure with robust communication to all affected employees is essential.
- System Updates/Downtime Messaging:
Despite the best system design, EHRs and their infrastructure can experience issues and downtimes. Clear protocols for System Updates (SU) and Downtime must be developed and communicated throughout the organization. Effective communication ensures that clinicians can continue providing care during system outages and facilitates information flow between end users and IT leadership.
- Targeted Messaging:
Recognize that clinicians are exceptionally busy individuals. Craft messaging tailored to specific user groups with concise, actionable content. Messages from trusted senders, such as Chief Medical Officers or department heads, tend to garner more attention than generic mass emails.
- Patient Communication:
EHR implementation can disrupt the patient experience, especially during go-live. Patients may have questions and concerns about their medical information's security and accessibility. Taking the time to communicate these changes, albeit at a high level, can ease the transition for patients and enhance their confidence in the new system.
- myChart & Meaningful Use:
Post-go-live, the focus shifts to stabilization and optimization, including myChart and Meaningful Use. These aspects require their own comprehensive communication plans, as they differ significantly in content, audience, and implications.
To ensure that your EHR implementation is successful, it's crucial to designate a dedicated team or individual responsible for communicating with end users at every stage of the system's lifecycle. Informed end users are more likely to adapt smoothly to the new system, and having communication professionals with IT and EHR delivery expertise can make a world of difference. Remember, effective communication is not just about delivering a message; it's about ensuring that your entire organization embraces the changes and thrives in the EHR era. Learn more about our implementation services, or contact us today to discuss your communication strategy.