EHR System Implementation Overview

Introduction

The implementation of electronic health records (EHR) is necessary for integrating a system used to securely document, store, retrieve, analyze, and disseminate relevant health information. Successful adoption of an EHR consists of pre-implementation and implementation stages (Merhi, 2015). At the preliminary step, it is necessary to establish a governance process and a project plan, communicate with the staff and patients, reconfigure workflows if necessary, and provide education and training. During the implementation stage, facilities will adjust the system to meet the requirements of practice, establishing a change-management procedure, determining how to backload patient medical histories, supporting the system, and encouraging staff throughout. Considerations of the system implementation phase will include site preparation, user preparation, and installing hardware and software.

Site Preparation

Desktop workstations with computers will be installed on each floor so that nurses can have easy access to them. Depending on the number of nurses operating on each floor, the number of desktops per floor will be estimated. On average, three nurses can use the same desktop station located on the floors. Printers will also be available at the same workstations as desktop computers so that nurses can easily print out the information from EHRs and include inpatient files or hand them out to patients or their families. However, to increase the mobility of nurses when using EHR systems on the go, it is recommended to use tablets because they are easier to carry and can be connected to the primary system through a server. The facility will have a server room (a data center) to store the hardware connecting all other devices used by healthcare providers across the setting. The data center will be located in a readily available site rather than in the basement and will be protected with additional security measures, such as a swipe card and password locks, the passwords to which will be changed regularly for increased safety.

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User Preparation

To equip EHR users with enough information as to how the system will be implemented, it is suggested to introduce five best practices. First, basic employee skills will be determined for providing appropriate training when necessary. Second, it could be useful to designate several users who are proficient enough in EHR and could help others use the system efficiently. Third, it is essential to first train nurses only on the areas that they are going to use on a regular basis, while maintenance and data management procedures should be left to the IT team at the facility (Nicol, Turawa, & Bonsu, 2019). Making sure that employees learn every single area and feature of the EHR solution is not realistic or practical because they can be distracted by unnecessary things, which would slow down their work and even cause frustration. Because of this, it is important to identify skilled users first and train them intensively as they are the ones to be more likely to be successful in using advanced features.

Fourth, post-implementation feedback sessions will be used to question users on their experiences and identify problem areas that need improving. The only way to ensure that nurses use the EHR system effectively is to prevent errors from occurring as quickly as possible (Nicol et al., 2019). Finally, nurses will be given access to all information resources offered by the EHR vendor that installed the solution at the facility. Such resources are readily available online and include tutorials on how to use particular features.

Installing Hardware and Software

In the beginning, it is necessary to ensure that the facility uses only certified EHR software to be used across the platforms. The EHR data can be securely stored on the client-server, which will connect all devices integrated into the system. At this step, it is necessary to have a strong IT team to help the process to go as smoothly as possible. This team should include staff members such as physicians, nurses, administrative staff, and medical assistants. During the process of EHR preparation, it is necessary to implement the necessary security measures that would not violate the HIPPA requirements, which is why an appropriate risk assessment (Kruse et al., 2017). It is a possibility to work with the health IT vendor providing the software to ensure that the installed applications are compliant in terms of software.

When it comes to the hardware needs, the equipment will be divided into three categories such as server room equipment, desktop computers for the facility’s floors, and tablets that nurses will use on the go (Kruse et al., 2017). The IT team will install and configure all the hardware at the facility to ensure the flawless work of the desktop computers and other technical equipment. As to the testing, any adjustments to be made will be implemented with the help of personnel reporting on the faults of the software and hardware. With the help of a server, it will be possible to connect the hardware, which means that all devices will work on the same software platform and can access the same data.

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References

Kruse, C. S., Smith, B., Vanderlinden, H., & Nealand, A. (2017). Security techniques for the electronic health records. Journal of Medical Systems, 41(8), 127.

Merhi, M. I. (2015). A process model leading to successful implementation of electronic health record systems. International Journal of Electronic Healthcare, 8(2/3/4), 185-201.

Nicol, E., Turawa, E., & Bonsu, G. (2019). Pre- and in-service training of health care workers on immunization data management in LMICs: A scoping review. Human Resources for Health, 17(92), 1-14.

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