Managing EHR Change

Posted on August 20, 2013 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.

One of the things that EHR salespeople and EHR vendor websites like to proclaim is that their EHR can be implemented with no change. They use adjectives like “easy” and “simple” to describe their EHR implementations. Certainly EHR salespeople are trained to say things like “will adapt to any workflow” and “our system is so configurable you can change it however you like.”

Certainly this type of message rings well with doctors who are afraid of the changes that EHR will bring. Let me assure everyone who’s reading this that EHR requires change. This is true of every EHR vendor, for every specialty, and every size organization. Change and EHR go hand in hand. What we have to get over is thinking that change is bad. Change can often be good, if it’s done right.

HP recently put out a detailed whitepaper discussing “Four EHR Change-Management Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them)“. It’s one of the deepest looks at managing the change that comes with EHR that I’ve seen.

For those who don’t want to read the whole whitepaper, here are the four EHR change management mistakes:
1. Mismatched IT
2. Misplaced Resources
3. Missed Accountability
4. Mismanaged Logistics

The whitepaper also talks about the evolutionary role of IT in today’s medical practice. First, IT provides basic functionality. Next, IT adds some value. Finally, IT delivers significant benefit. I’ve seen this evolution first hand in many organizations. Each step of the process requires managing changes that lead to the eventual benefits. However, far too many people get stuck in the basic functionality and never make it to the significant benefits.

If I were to take one of the mistakes above to highlight why many miss out on significant benefits it would be Missed Accountability. At the core of this idea is having effective leadership. I’ve never seen an organization go through the EHR change effectively without strong leadership.

What do you or your organization do to manage the change required by EHR?