Adopting an electronic health record (EHR) will change how patient information flows through your organization. The process of analyzing and redesigning your workflows is important because it helps you get the most value from EHR implementation. Workflow redesign is the process of:
- Analyzing your current workflows: Document your organization’s existing paper workflows [DOCX - 1.04 MB] in all areas of patient care. As workflows in a paper-based environment are often inconsistent between departments, be sure to involve everyone who handles paperwork.
- Reviewing and finalizing documentation of current workflow: Ensure that the final diagram incorporates the entire “paper trail” and that everyone buys in to the diagram. Your workflow diagrams should show how patient information is captured, stored, and shared.
- Finding opportunities for improvement and redesigning workflows: Look for ways your organization can improve the way patient information flows through your organization and map out how EHRs will create new workflow patterns. Look at all aspects of your organization from an electronic point-of-view.
- Identifying immediate inconsistencies: By mapping workflows, you will immediately find inconsistencies between departments, and sometimes between clinicians. You should try to standardize your organization’s most inefficient workflows before you adopt an EHR.
- Implementing new workflows: Use your analysis to select the right EHR for your organization and continually monitor your workflows during the EHR implementation process. Workflow redesign is an iterative process, so document the new processes with maps, diagrams, or lists to help your organization embed new habits. You can use the documentation to train your staff on the new workflows.
- Monitoring your new workflows: Continue to monitor EHR-driven workflows and adjust workflows as needed to optimize efficiencies. Computerized provider order entry, messaging, and clinical documentation, for example, are three workflows that often require updates.
Your Local Regional Extension Center Can Help
Your local Regional Extension Center (REC) can help you with workflow redesign. RECs are located in every region of the country to help health care providers select, implement, and become adept and meaningful users of EHRs. Contact your local REC to find out if you are eligible for free or reduced-price EHR implementation support.
For More Information
For more information on workflow redesign and EHR implementation, see the following resources.
- What is workflow redesign? Why is it important?
- What important workflow redesign areas should we consider?
- How will electronic health records affect my workflow? Do I need to consider workflow redesign?
- What are some tips for approaching workflow redesign?
- How do I perform a detailed workflow analysis?