For any organization to grow, there is a need for change to occur. This means that the organization must be in a position to keep up with the current changes in the market. Health organizations are not any different, there is a need for growth and therefore need for change within its structure. One of such changes is the implementation of HER systems within the organization. The focus of any organization, therefore, should be, the effectiveness of implementing these systems and their overall performance.
Electronic health records, EHR, unlike the Electronic Medical Records, EMR, go beyond clinical data, they provide the history of a patient. They are made up of an array of information about a patient that is shared among the people involved in the health care of the said patient. Therefore to implement an efficient HER system in the organization, there is required active teamwork as the information collected from every member of the team is paramount. An efficient EHR system allows the history of a client to move with the client to other health care providers when the need arises. Therefore with the implementation of a working system, the organization can not only help the patients from within but also when they need help outside the organizations reach (Carter, 2008).
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Coming up with an efficient EHR system for the organization and ensuring that it is well implemented is key as it affects both the financial and clinical aspects of the organization. Therefore coming up with effective teams of people within both the management and the staff members is important. The involvement of these people will not be an easy task as the same people are involved in the smooth running of the organization. It is, however, important that the team members can commit time the implementation of the system for it to be highly effective (Beaman, 2011).
There are three primary considerations to be made when coming up with the teams; they can be viewed as the methods used in building the team. One of the methods team building practices is the role played, for an efficient EHR system to be put in place, and there is the need for a leadership position, filled with a person capable of providing leadership. The individual must be visionary, respected within the organization and willingness to lead and implement change, in such a case, a champion in the organization is the preferred candidate (Marquis & Huston, 2009).
There is also need for a project manager, and this person must have an understanding of the organization's processes, supporter of change, organized and an excellent communicator. Both these positions will be involved in overlooking and supervising the teams to ensure that they are working efficiently. Apart from the leadership roles, two teams will be crucial in ensuring that the EHR system is successful. The first team is the selection team. They identify the needs regarding priority for the system within the organization. Apart from that, this team evaluates the effectiveness of the outside vendors contributing to the system implementation. The team must represent all areas of the organization including nursing, physicians, administration, pharmacy, record keeping, billing and medical assistants. They are responsible for providing the needed information for the system (Beaman, 2011).
The other team is the implementation members. They are responsible for designing the system, testing it, and training others who will use the system on the operations. The implementation team is involved in the hardware installation and are therefore expected to have enough knowledge of Information Technology. The second and third methods are time availability and skill set respectively. Before setting up roles within the teams and the leadership, there has to be an evaluation about how available the people in these teams are. As mentioned earlier, the EHR system requires a time commitment. Also, every team member including the leadership team must have a particular skill set.
With the implementation of any new system, there are challenges associated with the change within the organization. The concepts of change management theories provide the organization with a unique position to overcome the challenges that might present. There are two features of change implementation in any organization. These two features are especially true for the implementation of the EHR system. The first one is the technical work that involves the actual implementation of the scheme and installation of the hardware. The second one is the gathering of support for the proposed change within the organization that is how the rest of the group merge with the change (Carter, 2008).
The change agents in the organization have a responsibility to not only focusing on the simple structure provided for them with the system but instead look at the whole organizational design. Focusing on the whole organizational design helps overcome the challenge of convincing people that the change is important. By focusing on the organizational design, the change agent can put into consideration the differences in the different structures within the organization. With this, he or she can design tasks that help bring together the departments while at the same time including everyone's insight.
With the implementation of the EHR systems, mergers are an essential part, and this is because the system operates within a network of health care providers. Therefore the information provided by the organization will be useful for the same patient within another organization. The use of mergers has brought rise to some concerns, one of the concerns being that two vendors or organizations might be using different systems. Nevertheless, organizations and vendors alike have had to compromise and change systems as seen fit to help with the smooth running of the operations between them. With this change, the challenge of slow workflow is solved as the system fits the purpose when properly merged (Hamilton, 2009).
The third concept that comes to light with the implementation this system is the risk factor. The organization must understand the risks involved in the implementation of the EHR system. With the knowledge of the risks involved, the organization can come up with effective risk management strategies. Some of the risks involved here include privacy concerns as the medical history of the client are shared within the system. The organization must, therefore, implement technology within the system that ensures that the information is shared between the required users.
The implementation of the EHR system requires a strategic plan to ensure that the department can operate the system successfully. The first step is to identify if the said unit is ready for the implementation of the system. To identify the readiness of the unit, the focus goes to the people within the department, their readiness to change and their view on the new system. Apart from that, the future vision for the practice within that department is also an important consideration.
The next step is ensuring that the EHR system installed is an upgraded one to ensure that the flow of information is effective. With the implementation of this upgraded system, the next obvious step would be to ensure that everyone in the department is properly trained. As mentioned earlier, this task is left the implementation team; they now have the responsibility to ensure that every user can access and use the system efficiently. The training ensures that workflow is not affected by the new implementation. Without training, the new system provides employees with an excuse for their lack of performance, hence the great importance of training. It also ensures that the system is put into meaningful use within the department. Finally, there has to be continued maintenance. The maintenance allows the system to be improved as need arises, without which it could malfunction or fail to pass relevant information (Hamilton, 2009).
There are six stages to the procurement process, the first stage is planning, and it involves identifying the needs of the process, the budget, distribution of responsibilities, support from the organization and schedule. The support of the organization is crucial, in this case, the CEO of the board of directors has already given a go ahead. Therefore the need for request of the proposal is avoided as no bidding is required.
The second stage which involves the creation of a tender includes the social aspects of the process, environmental aspects, the finances and the technical requirements. The second stage is accomplished by the change agent looking into the needs of the organization as a whole. As mentioned earlier, there is need to view the organization as a whole structure to identify major differences (Hamilton, 2009).
The third stage in which the creation of the evaluation team is carried out is known as the evaluation criteria. The evaluation team is also the selection team mentioned earlier in the creation of teams. The next stage is a publication, what this entails is making it known by publishing it in the official communication venues. The selection team that is a representative of the whole organization looks into other vendors and identifies the need if any for the request for information.
The last stages are evaluation and contracting, the evaluation of the whole process and then the implementation stage itself that is the contracting stage. The implementation team is already in place to help with the evaluation and implementation and probably training needed. In conclusion, HER systems just like any other systems have both negative and positive outcomes. It is particularly the case with an initial installation, however as the organization adapts to the new system, the benefits outweigh the challenges.
Hamilton, B. (2009). Electronic health records (1st ed.). Boston: McGraw Hill Higher Education.
Carter, J. (2008). Electronic health records (1st ed.). Philadelphia: ACP Press.
Beaman, N. (2011). Pearson's comprehensive medical assisting (1st ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson.
Marquis, B. & Huston, C. (2009). Leadership roles and management functions in nursing (1st ed.). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.