Many practices are adopting an EHR for the first time, with various surveys finding 70% to 80% putting in systems, double the rate of three years ago. Almost every health IT implementation comes with hurdles and blunders. It can be frustrating when blunders affect the patient experience, but many are common and can be prevented by learning from the mistakes of other physicians.
When a practice has no system to see which patients are scheduled, or the waiting room is full of angry patients while their physician tries to get back online, or the physician logs in only to find a blank screen, “it can be kind of a chaotic day,” said Becky Little, director of clinical operations for Genesis Ob/Gyn. “Not having the network or data, you’re kind of flying by the seat of your pants in terms of who is coming in and for what.”
Many of the common blunders can be linked to how the technology is implemented and how it is used. “For the most part, the technology works,” said Amit Trivedi, health care programs manager for ICSA Labs, a technology testing and certification organization. “It’s getting people to work with the technology that is more difficult.
“One of the toughest things is that folks view EHR implementation as a technology project, and it is because you are making a sizable investment in hardware, software, licenses and all that stuff. But it’s easy to forget that ultimately it’s a people and process project, not as much technology.”