EMR is the Health Care ERP

I know I’ve written about ERP and EMR before, but the more I think about the EMR selection and implementation process, the more I see the same issues that are experienced with an ERP implementation.

The one issue that is a bit different about EMR versus ERP is that there are only a small handful of ERP vendors to choose from. However, we have 300-600 to choose from in the EMR world. That’s an important and challenging difference.

However, the similarities to ERP are many. One of the most striking is how the EMR like the ERP is something that’s going to be used and have an effect on the entire organization. As such, the need to manage the participation of multiple stakeholders is so key.

The key to a successful ERP implementation is to have a great project leader.  Someone who is great at working with various departments. They are great listeners who hear and understand each departments needs. Then, they have to be great at making the case for each depaartment’s needs.

The same is true for EMR. You need an EMR implementation champion who is great at listening to all areas of the clinic: nurses, doctors, front desk, billing, medical records, etc. Sometimes this can be done well by a physician lead, but is more likely to be a practice manager, IT support (if they have project management skills), or an outside consultant. 

It’s easy to underestimate the challenge of “herding sheep.” Done right, it can work very well. Done wrong and your clinic is likely going to have the opportunity to try again after the failed EMR implementation.

There are other comparisons worth considering, but this one was striking me today. I’ll be interested to hear stories and experiences from those who have implemented an EMR. Did you have a strong leader to help pacify the different stakeholders in your clinic? 

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of HealthcareScene.com, 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, EXPO.health, 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.


  • I agree that you must have one leader that is committed to listening to all different areas of the clinics. I am the EHR Coordinator for a multi-subspecialty orthopedic practice and I can promise you that it is a full time job. We have, for the most part, implemented NextGen. However, I still have yet to figure out how to implement templates, point and click data for the exam and plan aspects of the office visit, without slowing down workflow in clinic. I have a physicians that see anywhere from 50-100 patients in a day. Decreasing revenue and patient care is not an option.
    Now, I will say that we have implemented many features and processes that have been extremely beneficial and advantageous to our clinics. Before you can do that, you have to analyze every area of clinic, decide how it will or will not affect that area, train everyone prior to implementation, and then address the many issues that will arise once you have implemented. I have found that it is much easier and helpful if you organize a team of users, super users, to be your “go to users” before, during, and after implementation.
    Like I said, I know from first hand experience, this is a full time job. I am concerned for those clinics who do not have someone to dedicate to take “the bull by the horns” and steer EMR implementation.

  • It is not necessarily the templates themselves, as I do have one physician using them. It is more the time involved in completing them. When you have a physician that sees 80 patients in a day and he is in a room no longer than 2 minutes and spends less than 45 seconds generating a note instantly with a combination of NextGen and Dragon, transitioning him to templates would be almost impossible. He would have to cut his patient load by 40% at least. Not at option with my physicians. They do not beleive in turning a patient away or making them wait a month to get in. The best thing would be for NextGen to develop a way to drive and complete templates using Dragon. That would be the golden egg!!

  • I agree with the author’s statement that EMRs need to be able to accommodate all sectors within healthcare- from administration to nursing. It is interesting to read from the comments and post, how important it is to have someone or a group of people within organization working to streamline this technology, even if the EMR has been customized to some degree to meet the criteria necessary to achieve higher levels of efficiency. This post emphasizes how healthcare IT needs to work seamlessly with the people, processes and systems to enhance communication and overall, patient care.

Click here to post a comment