Written by Frank Fortner, President and COO of Iatric Systems
Picture this…you’ve just gone live with your new EHR. It’s all in the past and you are feeling proud of the effort you and your team has put forth. As the final chapter in a multi-year-long story comes to a close, you turn the (hypothetical) last page only to read the words… “The Beginning.” What?!? Yes, you read that right. Welcome to the beginning of a new story. You see, selecting an EHR, implementing an EHR, and living with an EHR day in and day out are three different stories from the same trilogy. Congratulations on finishing the first two stories! You are now about to begin the third and (hopefully) the longest in the saga.
Like dating, the selection process was mostly fun and exhilarating, if not exhausting at times, and the implementation phase is now somewhat of a blur. Combined, these first two phases might have spanned a few years, but now, the reality of this commitment is upon you. Living forevermore with the EHR of your choice now means regular maintenance, care and feeding. It means late night troubleshooting and weekend upgrades. It means making sure data appropriately flows into, out of, and all throughout the EHR so that the various parts of the system have the necessary data to function properly — all while simultaneously protecting it from the bad guys. What a job!
This is where EHR optimization can play a big role in an overall healthcare IT strategy. EHR optimization adds enhanced functionality in key areas such as: interoperability, business and clinical analytics, patient privacy, and workflow improvement. Depending on the size and capabilities of your IT staff, some of this optimization can be done internally. Other components will inevitably require the services of a reliable EHR optimization partner. Like a trusted doctor or mechanic, your EHR optimization partner(s) will help you analyze issues and suggest various solutions to reduce pain points and create greater efficiencies. Is EHR optimization part of your maintenance strategy? If the answer is “not yet,” today would be a great day to begin thinking about it.
Share your challenges or experiences for planning for EHR Optimization in the comments section — I'd love to hear them!