(HealthDay)—Implementing an electronic health record (EHR) system takes excessive physician and staff time and disrupts practice, according to survey results published Feb. 24 in Medical Economics.
According to results from the two-year Medical Economics EHR Best Practices Study, 96 percent of the participating physicians reported excessive time to implement, 89 percent noted a disruption to the practice, and only 37 percent said they were truly ready on the go-live date.
To minimize the stress of implementing an EHR system, Medical Economics suggests the following steps: (1) review the workflow process map prior to implementation; (2) set a goal of retiring the paper version of charts by the patient's second visit; (3) make a decision whether to hire a scribe or temporary staff to preload, scan, or manually enter patient records; and (4) conduct a practice run of the EHR before going live as part of training. Additionally, have on-site technical support present during the first few days and consider running both the old and new billing systems simultaneously to test certain claims and payers.
"Consider that physicians are faced with integrating records and trying to achieve a level of functionality with the system," said the EHR Best Practices Study leader George G. Ellis Jr., M.D., according to the Medical Economics article. "At the same time, they are learning how to use it while examining patients, diagnosing conditions, and treating them. Workflow adjustments add new complications to an already complicated process."