Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Implementation Guidelines

I'm writing today from the HIMSS convention in Orlando, Florida, where I'm looking to see what new technologies are available to the health care industry to facilitate patient care and communication between patients and doctors.A few interesting presentations of note thus far:
  • Enjoyable EHR interfaces: Improved quality, cost and acceptance through user-friendly EHR interface hosted by Paul Schadler, MD, Co-Medical Director Health Center
  • Planning, Realizing and Measuring EMR Benefits: Lessons from Early Adopters, hosted by Patricia Johnston VP Texas Health Resources (THR) Information Services, and Douglas Thompson, Director FCG
  • Painful but Necessary EMR: an Enterprise-wide Shot in the arm for Standardization, hosted by Holly Miller Information Officer University and Lynne King EHR Project Director
Today I'd like to discuss guidelines to follow before selecting an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system. The hardest aspect of implementation is fear of the unknown. I've listed a couple of guidelines to follow to ensure (not guarantee, because problems arise regardless) a smoother transition.
  • Project management: make sure that individual is capable of keeping the project on track and budget. Once a plan is set in place stick to that plan religiously. Because if the project manager can't lead his team, mistakes will be made, deadlines will be missed which will have an impact on the allotted budget.
  • Vendor management: Do a lot of research and know what your healthcare organization needs before selecting a vendor because you should be leading the vendor not vice versa.
  • Right People: This is crucial because your EMR system is as good as the people who are using it. Make sure you have the right people in place and also factor in losing a few employee's due to resistance to change
  • Scope of project: Keep in mind the long term goal which will result in increased communication from staff and patients and improve overall efficiency from such implementation. it important not to let the little things bog you down, keep your eye on the prize.
I just touched the surface, please feel free to add to this list or discuss implementation pains your health care organization has faced in the past and/or present.
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