As we noted in a previous post, the latest group of EMR buyers have gotten savvy about support. As a new study suggests, more than ever, providers are choosing vendors who offer a great deal of handholding. And that’s probably a good idea, according to Michael Patmas of the American College of Healthcare Executives. Below, here’s some of his thoughts on EMR and CPOE project failures.
I have had the unfortunate experience of being in two organizations that had EMR and / or CPOE implementation failures as well as one organization that was successful. A key learning for me was the need to adequately fund training and support. Too often, implementation plans are driven by the vendor who tend to under emphasize the training needs. Simply providing a few hours of hands on training for the physicians is not enough. The real training begins after one flips the switch and providers have to actually work with the system in real time during clinical encounters. That’s when having trainers available to sit with and coach the providers is essential. In every implementation failure I have seen, the organizations under-invested in training and ongoing support.
Sadly, though, many providers seem to cross their fingers and hope a little training will somehow diffuse automatically into the organization. This is a dangerously irresponsible stance, but it’s all too common.
In fact, at three separate community hospitals, I’ve personally witnessed doctors and nurses huddled together over an EMR workstation trying to teach each other how to use the system. If it made me squirm — under these circumstances, serious errors like misdocumenting drug allergies are all but inevitable — hospital leaders should be terrified, shouldn’t they?