Roadblocks to EMR Implementations

I’ve decided that on Sunday’s I’ll just post a few interesting questions and give people the opportunity to share their experience and/or expertise. Hopefully we’ll get a lot of participation and we can all learn from each other in the process. No doubt many of my readers are more knowledgeable and experienced than me.

Today, let’s talk about the roadblocks that people have faced or are facing in their EMR implementations. If you’ve already implemented an EMR, let’s hear the roadblocks and challenges that you faced when implementing and how you might have overcome those challenges. If you’re still deciding whether to implement an EMR, let’s hear what reasons are blocking you from implementing an EMR. EMR vendors and consultants can share the challenges they see from a high level.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • John, as an IT infrastructure vendor (UPS, cooling, racks, power strips) I have encountered countless ambulatory offices that deployed an EMR but severely neglected the hardware side. I’ve seen servers and storage damaged by electrical surges and constantly rebooting routers because of unreliable utility power.

    But the most common infrastructure problem related to EMR implementation that I’ve experienced is heat density. A network closet to support wireless, database computing and data storage produces a lot of heat. The building A/C is off at night but the IT network is always running (and eventually, literally, burning up). I’ve seen many box fans in open-door thresholds, which is a dangerous solution when it comes to physical security of data. IT implementation shouldn’t be a doctor’s concern; consultants and EMR vendors need to explain the necessity of a properly designed IT network (regardless of the sticker shock which may jeopardize the EMR sale).

  • In my experience as a trainer/EMR support person, clinicians who are reluctant to learn and use an EMR can be a roadblock to a successful implementation – even if clinic management is behind it 100%.

    The first thing the trainer can do is acknowledge to the reluctant user that the sytem is, in fact, difficult to learn and use, and they are not alone in their frustration.

    Next, the trainer can work with the individual to find system options that work best forthem — often the EMR software has different methods of accomplishing the same task. The trainer can have the person practice the task using test patients, and write up “cheat sheets” for future reference.

    Eventually, they will come around. Sometimes they even begin to like using the system, although they might not admit it!

  • A fine point Eunice. I’ve seen it happen a few times where the clinician who was the biggest road block learned the system and became one of the people who would help others. However, it does take some time and it’s not always so nice.

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