EMR is the Health Care ERP

Posted on June 28, 2011 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.

I know I’ve written about ERP and EMR before, but the more I think about the EMR selection and implementation process, the more I see the same issues that are experienced with an ERP implementation.

The one issue that is a bit different about EMR versus ERP is that there are only a small handful of ERP vendors to choose from. However, we have 300-600 to choose from in the EMR world. That’s an important and challenging difference.

However, the similarities to ERP are many. One of the most striking is how the EMR like the ERP is something that’s going to be used and have an effect on the entire organization. As such, the need to manage the participation of multiple stakeholders is so key.

The key to a successful ERP implementation is to have a great project leader.  Someone who is great at working with various departments. They are great listeners who hear and understand each departments needs. Then, they have to be great at making the case for each depaartment’s needs.

The same is true for EMR. You need an EMR implementation champion who is great at listening to all areas of the clinic: nurses, doctors, front desk, billing, medical records, etc. Sometimes this can be done well by a physician lead, but is more likely to be a practice manager, IT support (if they have project management skills), or an outside consultant. 

It’s easy to underestimate the challenge of “herding sheep.” Done right, it can work very well. Done wrong and your clinic is likely going to have the opportunity to try again after the failed EMR implementation.

There are other comparisons worth considering, but this one was striking me today. I’ll be interested to hear stories and experiences from those who have implemented an EMR. Did you have a strong leader to help pacify the different stakeholders in your clinic?