EHR Adoption Failure Is Not Always a Technology Failure

Posted on April 10, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

In one of the LinkedIn threads I was participating, Cameron Collette offered this really interesting insight:

Secondly, there is a general unwillingness to change current work flow models in many health care facilities. Daily I hear, “we have never done it that way” or “that’s not the way do things”. So, we have what is currently a greater than 40% EMR adoption failure rate. In other words, it is not always a technology failure. The technology might work, but in order to make it work properly requires a significant change in processes. Sometimes this would be a good thing. Sometimes it would not be a good thing as a lot of EMR/EHR designs were developed with virtually no real input from the people that have to work with them every day.

He’s absolutely right. It is very often the case that the problem with your EHR has nothing to do with the EHR technology at all. Often, one of the biggest problems that’s faced during an EHR implementation is a change to culture.

I’ve said multiple times that an EHR implementation requires change. I know that many EHR companies will try and sell you that their product can be implemented with no change to your workflow. That’s just an outright lie. Sure, some of them can do a pretty good job modeling your current workflow in the EHR, but there is still plenty of change that’s required.

Change and EHR implementation go together. Organizations that deny this reality have issues in their EHR implementation.

This is why every EHR implementation I’ve seen has required some powerful leadership that drives the initiative. It’s why the $36+ billion in stimulus money has driven EHR adoption so much. That money makes leaders respond.

My best advice for healthcare leaders out there is to embrace the change that EHR and other technology is bringing. You shouldn’t accept mediocrity in a tech system, but you should expect and be ready to change when you implement an EHR. In fact, one of the best assets you can build into your company is the ability to adapt to change.

5 years from now, I’m pretty sure we’re going to look back and think that the next 5 years of technology caused more change for good than we’ve seen in the last 10 years. If your organization doesn’t have a culture of adapting to change, they’re going to be left behind.