“WIIFM” (What’s in it for Me)

Posted on July 8, 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 can’t remember exactly where I saw someone talk about the “WIIFM” (What’s in it for Me) principle, but it really is an important principle that when understood can have an amazing impact for good. This post isn’t about whether you should live a life asking WIIFM. I’ll leave that question to people much smarter than me. Instead, I want to look at how applying the WIIFM principle to others can help those working on a successful EHR implementation.

In most cases I’m talking about, the WIIFM should be changed to “What’s in it for Them?” Understanding the answer to this question can help you as an EMR consultant, an EMR vendor or even a practice manager or doctor that’s trying to work through an EMR implementation.

One of the first things I cover in my e-Book on EMR selection (It’s free, check it out) is the idea of getting buy in from those that will be affected by the EHR implementation (that’s usually everyone). One of the best ways to get EHR buy in from people is to understand the WIIFM. It’s not fool proof, but it’s one good strategy for getting people on the same bus, going the same direction.

Let me tell you that there’s always a way to find a WIIFM in an EHR implementation. This list of EMR and EHR benefits is a great place to start. However, many of those benefits can be extrapolated in ways that will show what’s in it for every person in the clinic.

Let’s say for example, that your goal for implementing an EHR is to increase clinic revenue by freeing up chart storage space so you have an extra exam room for another provider. You can then talk about what that new revenue can be used for to improve the clinic. Maybe it could include bonus checks or other incentives. These become tangible things that staff can use to better understand WIIFM in an EHR implementation.

I’m sure many of the nay sayers out there are thinking, but an EHR doesn’t provide those benefits. That’s why it’s so important that you define which benefits your clinic is striving to achieve before you select or implement an EHR. The list of benefits you use to show WIIFM ends up being your goals for your EHR implementation. They can be used to define your EHR selection process. They can be included in the EHR contract so you have some assurance or protection if the EHR vendor can’t deliver on their sales promises. Not to mention, after the EHR implementation you have a way to measure if it was a success or not based upon those goals.

Test the WIIFM principle. Not from an arrogant Me Me Me approach. Instead, step into the other people’s shoes and ask WIIFM. This approach can really help improve any EHR Implementation if applied correctly.