Currently I’m part of an Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Implementation staff for which we are implementing Epic® Systems, Inc. EMR for several Ambulatory specialty clinics such as Cardiology, Surgery, and Orthopedics. Our staff consists of project managers, clinicians, IT staff, experienced EMR vendor certified consultants such as me, as well as recently certified full-time employees…believe me we all bring something to the table. Four to five months ago this project began with the workflow analysis of the medical staff’s daily tasks, then system creation, build, and user validation. Currently, we are in the EMR system testing phase. Recently during a particular day of this phase, as several members of our busy staff were completing our tasks, I called out to our Physician Champion/Clinical Project Director regarding how things were going and I said, “Doc, uou know it takes a village!” and he responded, “More like a small army!”
I want to share with you, just a few lines of information to summarize an EMR Implementation process and who gets involved…please know, the following information is definitely a summarized version of this process. I’ve been involved over these past 6 years with many, many EMR implementations for both Hospitals’ (Inpatient or Acute care) and Clinics’ (Ambulatory care) healthcare facilities and I have enough experiences to report about that could fill a book! In the meantime, just keep coming back and read about these experiences in my blogs.
- The process first begins with the coming together of the healthcare facilities’ clinical and information technology leadership. They form the EMR project’s governance and leadership.
- The EMR/EHR project leadership decides which EMR/EHR vendor application to purchase for implementation.
- The EMR/EHR implementation leadership staff is hired. This staff includes: Project Management Office (PMO) Directors, Information Technology Directors, Clinical Directors (Physician and Nurse ‘Champions’, Financial Directors (Revenue Cycle), etc.
- Each of these directors then begin to interview and hire the particular EMR application “leads” as they relate to each of these Healthcare IT professional career paths. Subsequently these leads then interview and hire their “team” of staff members. The EMR staff may consist of full-time employees and consultants based on the project’s budget, timeframe and ability to locate staff to hire within the healthcare facility or outside of it.
- A very important and time-consuming part of the EMR/EHR implementation process includes intensive and much customized EMR/EHR vendor application training classes that most of the EMR/EHR implementation staff must attend, achieving EMR vendor certification, then applying what they have learned by a practical methodology that allows for a successful EMR application implementation.
…and so the Healthcare Information Technology “village” is established! Each bulleted item I have summarized above consists of months and months of decision making, extensive project planning meetings, endless communications and meetings with everyone involved and also involved is the selected EMR/EHR vendor’s leadership and their staff (…this is were this small army of professionals begin to make ongoing visits to the “village”).
Then this burgeoning mix of Clinicians, Technologists, and Project Managers, Directors, EMR/EHR vendor staff, and Hospital Leadership descend out to the clinical community at-large…and the work continues!. . . as they create and customize this digitized clinical application system and then convince the users it will be safer, more efficient, cost effective…all the while, and most importantly improving patient care!
Shirley Corsey is a certified Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Consultant/Road Warrior, and owner of her own online training center for the Healthcare Information Technology industry. She is a seasoned Healthcare IT professional with over 25 years experience, with a recent career focus for the past 6 years in the EMR job market.