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How to Implement EHRs

EHR Implementation Lessons from the Field

Featured Lessons from the Field: EHR Implementation with Minimal Practice Disruption in Primary Care Settings

The Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center (WIREC) shares their experience and lessons of EHR implementation including:

  • The importance of a physician champion
  • Workflow planning is essential
  • Make training a priority
  • Never go live without a lab interface
Read the entire story of WIREC’s EHR implementation experience and lessons [PDF - 1.34 MB]

The following EHR implementation lessons learned have been compiled from the Regional Extension Centers (RECs) and their EHR Implementation and Project Management Community of Practice. These EHR implementation lessons capture their collective experiences in working with physician practices throughout the country working toward implementation of EHR systems.

Over the coming months, the RECs will continue to share their experiences from the field and the resulting leading practices and tools that can be used throughout all phases of the Practice Transformation Roadmap. Please check back often for more EHR implementation lessons, information, and resources.

Lesson 1 – Identify and coordinate with the local health information exchange (HIE) in your area

Identify the requirements for connecting to your local HIE. Identify how to facilitate access to electronic results and peer-to-peer communication. Connecting through the HIE may make it more efficient to connect to multiple vendors, rather than building multiple point-to-point connections.

Lesson 2 – Rapid transition from paper charts to EHRs helps ensure success

The shorter the transition from paper charts to electronic health records, the better the chance of success. If the transition is too slow, the practice may get frustrated and revert back to paper records.

Lesson 3 – Conduct chart abstraction before “go-live”

Providers should work with their vendor to determine how far in advance they can populate patient charts with clinical data, so that providers do not have to start with a clean slate during their first electronic visit with the patient.

Lesson 4 – Cut back on patient load during “go-live” period

Reducing patient volume during the initial “go-live” period reduces staff anxiety. It’s best to schedule all appointments during this period as if they were new patient appointments.

Lesson 5 – Make training a priority

Providers and staff need to ensure that they receive the full amount of training hours available. Training should be conducted in an environment free of distractions. Providers and staff should not be conducting business while training.