EHR Implementation Plan: 7-Step Checklist
EHR or Electronic Health Records store patient data in electronic format and allow authorized users to access it at any convenient time. EHR platforms offer various benefits to all parties involved:
- Physicians get all patient data from one source
- Patients make appointments without visiting the clinic
- Clinic management and authorities reduce concerns about the confidentiality of medical information
Global digitalization is forcing more and more medical facilities to move from paper records to a more secure digital format. If you’re looking to implement EHR software in your healthcare organization, follow this 7-step checklist to ensure a smooth and successful implementation.
How long does EHR implementation take?
The time required to develop an EHR system depends on two key factors: the size of your healthcare organization and the number of features you want to implement.
For example, if you have a private dental practice, with you as the main or only doctor, a basic program with 2–3 features may be suitable. Such an EHR system could allow users to create a personal account, book/cancel appointments, and upload PDF/TXT documents.
However, if you own a large clinic with different departments and doctors, you will need a more extensive solution with more complex functionality. In this case, your EHR software would include:
- various filters (by department, doctor, consultation hours, price)
- external integrations (with Google calendar, messengers, payment services)
- ratings and reviews
- pop-up notifications
- built-in analytics
- communication tools
In the first case, the development can take 3–4 months, in the second -, it may last a year or more.
However, regardless of the project complexity, it’s important to have a clear plan and timeline for your EMR implementation so that everyone involved is aware of what’s happening and when. Below we provide a 7-step checklist to help you get started.
EHR implementation steps
Step 1. Define your EHR goals
Recent studies show that of the 96% of US hospitals that have adopted EMR software, 60% do not know how to measure the benefit of using it. This situation means that more than half of the companies that develop EHR software and are widely present in Texas, New York, and North Carolina do not pay enough attention to planning. As a result, they spend a lot of money and do not get the desired effect.
Before you start the EHR implementation process, understand why you need it and what you seek to achieve with your new software. Do you want to first improve patient care, reduce costs, or increase your customer base? Your goals will guide the rest of your implementation plan, so it is vital to avoid approximate values and abstract concepts.
To measure the effectiveness of an EHR system, define strategic KPIs and set goals in quantitative terms. For example, some of the indicators to consider are:
- time for information recording
- number of examined patients
- cost of patient care
- speed of medical assistance
- number of cases where medical information is lost.
Step 2. Assess your current state
Before you can even think about implementing an EHR system in your healthcare organization, you need to take a step back and assess your current state. What are your existing systems and processes? How does your staff currently communicate and share information?
Maybe, you already have legacy software, but you want to modernize it and make it more compatible with current business needs. Or perhaps you are at the beginning of the digital transformation journey and need to create an EHR app development plan from scratch..
Whatever situation you have, it is essential to have a clear idea of what you’re working with before you can begin to improve on it. Only by understanding your current state can you make informed decisions about how to move forward.
Step 3. Select your EHR software
At this stage, you have to decide whether you want to use a ready-made EHR solution or develop a product from scratch. There are a number of EHR software providers on the market, so it is important to do your research and clarify whether their products meet your specific needs.
Currently, three major players in the EHR market are Cerner, Epic, and Meditech. They offer different features for hospitals and patients, providing various pricing plans and packages for diverse customer groups.
The biggest disadvantage of EHR vendors, however, is their overwhelming features and high price. By offering everything to everyone, large software solutions lose flexibility and often do not deliver value to their customers. Understanding this, many companies choose custom EHR system development. Even though this approach requires significant investments at the beginning, it brings more value in the long-term perspective.
Step 4. Create your EHR roadmap
If you decide to develop proprietary software, you need to define the work scope, set deadlines, and adjust the sequence of feature implementation. A product roadmap will help you in this matter, providing a visual document that outlines rough steps of the development flow.
With the help of a roadmap, you can understand where your product is now and how quickly it will reach its goals in the future. Being dynamic by its nature, the roadmap is often modified and updated by product managers to keep up with market changes and current client needs.
You should not confuse a product roadmap with a release plan. While the former communicates a high-level overview of a product strategy, the latter concentrates on specific tasks within a given release.
You, as a client, can and should participate in roadmap creation to know how the team will implement your EHR. However, the release plan is a more narrow-focused document usually created by the development team autonomously.
Step 5. Implement your EHR system
You can develop an EHR program in-house or pass this task to domain experts. The second option is faster, simpler, and more beneficial. By partnering with an EHR software development company, you immediately access a team with relevant expertise and can start the project within the shortest possible time.
When choosing a technology partner, pay attention to their field of specialization and portfolio of completed projects. For faster and better results, give preference to narrowly focused companies experienced in setting patient data security, managing EHR security risks, and developing HIPAA compliant EHR apps.
Step 6. Go live with your EHR system
Before making the switch, make sure all of your staff is trained on how to use the new system, and have a backup plan in place in case of any malfunctions.
You’ll also want to make sure all of your patients are aware of the change and can access their records in the new system. Send out an email notification letting them know about the transition and include instructions on how they can access their records.
Finally, be sure to thoroughly test your new system before going live. This will help ensure a smooth transition and minimize any potential glitches.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry — we’re here to help! Our team of experts can assist you with every step of the EHR implementation process, from planning to execution.
Step 7. Monitor and optimize your EHR system
Once your EHR system is up and running, it’s important to monitor and optimize it accordingly. This means tweaking and adjusting your system to ensure that it’s working as efficiently as possible for your healthcare organization.
There are a few key ways to do this:
- Review your data and analytics on a regular basis to see where you could be making improvements.
- Make sure all users are familiar with the system and how to use it optimally.
- Identify any inefficiencies or glitches in the system and work to fix them.
- Use your EHR system to its full potential and explore all the features it has to offer.
- Regularly update your system according to the latest technology updates.
- Train new staff on how to use the system effectively.
- Monitor and optimize your EHR system for the best results.
Custom EHR development: team and budget
When it comes to custom EHR development, it’s important to have a clear idea of what you want your system to do. Depending on the size and complexity of your project, the cost of custom EHR development can vary widely. Qualified developers can provide you with accurate quotes after they study project requirements, current documentation, and your expectations for the end result.
Potential software costs include
- renting server spaces
- database setup
- patient data migration
- creating web and mobile apps
- developing interfaces for patients, doctors, and admins
- working on UI/UX design
- testing and QA
The price would also vary depending on whether you choose on-premise or cloud deployment. The second option will save you time and money since you will pay only for cloud services you actually use.
If you google the price of electronic medical records implementation you will receive different offers from several thousand to several hundred thousand dollars. As it was already mentioned, the exact cost can be communicated after project research and analysis. However, to give you an idea of the minimum budget to count on, consider $30000 as a starting point for developing a non-complex EHR.
For more detailed information on the EHR system implementation, please contact our managers. They will provide you with a detailed project estimate based on your business needs and system expectations.