EHR Readiness Questions

In my interest of highlighting more EHR bloggers, I found this post by Ron Sterling on EHR Outlook quite interesting. In his post, Ron highlights a number of questions a clinic should ask itself to know if it’s ready for an EHR implementation. Here are the questions he lists:
* Does your EHR effort have physician support?
* Are you prepared to address ongoing problems?
* Is your budget practical?
* Does your EHR support your current workflow and operations?
* Will your existing computer Infrastructure support an EHR?
* Have you gotten your paper records ready?

Check out the original post for Ron’s thoughts on each question and why that question is important. I think it’s a pretty good list to consider. I especially like the second question that addresses whether you’re willing and able to address ongoing problems. That’s a hard one to evaluate, but understanding how your organization addresses issues is very important. You don’t want to start thinking about that once you’re in the heat of an EHR implementation.

I’d also suggest a couple more questions:
* Why are you implementing an EHR?
* What are your plans for your medical practice and will the EHR you choose be impacted by those plans?

Making sure that a clinic is EHR ready is brutally important. Trying to implement an EHR in a clinic that’s not ready almost always turns into a nightmare experience for everyone involved.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the 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.

9 Comments

  • These are great questions to consider when implementing EHRs. Ultimately, this technology should work to improve the services an processes currently in place. It is important to understand the dynamics in each medical facility so the people, processes and systems work seamlessly together. Thank you for sharing such valuable content!

  • I would add:

    1. Do you have a plan to prevent staff burnout during your conversion? Often those with the most interest in a new system end up putting in extra hours and effort to the neglect of their prime duties.

    2. Which of your paper records do you plan to bring in and to what extent will you bring them in?

    3. How will you bring up your new system, all at once or in pieces?

    4. What help do you need? Do you want the vendor’s staff or are their local resources?

    5. Can everyone in your practice type? Who will need basic training in computer use?

  • I love the questions above and would add one more. Will the equipment you invest in be easily re-usable for a second EHR system if your first one fails to achieve your goals and needs to be switched out?

  • Are you ready to get serious about information security? More capital please…Hope your practice got the federal incentive money; the cost to implement EHR’s may have just gone up.
    “As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Congress enacted the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act to broaden and increase HIPAA’s scope of protecting the privacy and security of personal health information.”
    http://preview.tinyurl.com/3pkor8e

  • Just got a new piece of important knowledge last night. Did you know that the $44K is taxable income? So it’s not really $44K but more like $29K after taxes take a massive hit.

  • John,
    In the beginning portion of the video didn’t he state any information added to the EHR becomes PHI and must then be treated as such? This, if true, is exponentially much larger than the 12 items you reference in previous posts…No?

  • I don’t believe that to be the case. Although, it’s unlikely that anything in an EHR would be treated as anything but PHI. That’s pretty standard from what I’ve seen.

    Plus, HIPAA has expanded beyond the 12 (or whatever the number is) things people like to list. It’s now basically anything that could be used to individually identify someone. So, it could include a whole lot of things.

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