Feb 28 2017

3 Tips for EHR Implementation

Don't dive in before you have a detailed roadmap laid out.

The Department of Defense (DOD) began rolling out its new electronic health record (EHR) platform, MHS Genesis, at the Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Wash., earlier this month, joining the throngs of healthcare organizations aiming to use the new record-keeping technology to more easily share patient information across providers.

“In medicine today, we leverage a lot of different skill sets on a health care team,” Lt. Gen. Mark A. Ediger, a physician and the Air Force Surgeon General, told DoD News. “[MHS Genesis] goes well beyond the traditional doctor-patient interaction and leverages skill sets such as nutrition, exercise physiology and disease management. It’s a very collaborative tool that allows the team to share a common picture.”

With the full national deployment of the DOD’s EHR system planned for 2022, the state has several years to get all of its facilities onboard. But with EHR rollouts proving to be complex and all-encompassing affairs, organizations looking to implement their own EHR systems should be sure to have their ducks in a row before initiating the process.

1. Start with a strong project steering committee, a detailed project scope and a project manager with experience in full EHR implementations

If you don’t have all three pieces in place, your project is at risk from the start, says Dan O’Connor, vice president of client relations at healthcare IT consulting firm Stoltenberg Consulting. While planning, discovery and development phases of a project are important, testing, training and support must also be priorities, he says.

2. Standardize on the same wireless drivers on all desktop and notebook computers

Make sure every device uses the same wireless drivers, says Armand Stansel, director of IT infrastructure services at Houston Methodist hospital in Texas.

“You want to remove any possibility of problems, so standardize as much as possible,” Stansel says. “That way, you know exactly how a version acts on the wireless network.”

3. Choose small form factor desktop computers to save space.

Houston Methodist standardized on Lenovo ThinkCentre Tiny-In-One 24-inch monitors that are paired with Lenovo Tiny PCs, which are small form factor computers that dock to the back of the monitors.

“In healthcare, space matters, and this saves a lot of space,” says Alex Vega, Houston Methodist’s IT director of field operations.

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