Corporate Compliance

Tip: Redesign your organization during EHR implementation

Compliance Monitor, June 6, 2007

EHR implementation is the best time to improve operational efficiency at your organization, because the reason you are going electronic is to be a better place to give and receive care. This means you don't want to take a bad paper process and convert it to an equally bad electronic process. It defeats the purpose of electronic health records (EHRs).

"You should harness the opportunities of electronic information," says Susan Ordway, senior director of health information technology services and manager of the Doctors Office Quality Information Technology (DOQ-IT) program for quality-improvement organization (QIO) Masspro in Waltham, MA. Use EHR implementation to redefine your processes, procedures, and workflows.

Paper is fundamentally different and relies on triggers that won't work when you're using an EHR. For example, in the paper world, you might place a patient's chart in a bin to indicate that the patient has arrived and is ready to see a physician. This won't work with an EHR. You'll need to consider an electronic trigger that works the same way. It can be a challenge to think of all of the possible workflow changes you'll have to make. Consider redesigning the following main areas:

  • Patient flow
  • Point-of-care documentation
  • In-office communication
  • Document management
  • Chart abstraction (migrating away from this process)

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