5 questions to ask when you're at a crossroads in your EHR strategy

Mary Sirois_headshot_higherquality-1Healthcare providers are looking for ways to save time, reduce administrative burden, and decrease costs. When an organization is at a crossroads in determining whether to optimize its current electronic health record (EHR) platform or implement new technology, decisions must be made at the start, as this is the ideal time to establish the best means of achieving goals and objectives. Ready to advance a modern ecosystem that enables high-quality digital experiences for your patients, caregivers, and partners? Looking to improve your financial position? Here are five value-driven questions to consider before kicking off EHR initiatives.

  1. How will optimizing or transitioning the EHR benefit your organization, patients/consumers, clinicians, and partners?

Ahead of making EHR changes, hospital and health system leaders must evaluate the business case. For example, digital tools and automation can drive safer and more patient-centered care, increase clinician efficiency and satisfaction, enhance financial stability through improved revenue cycle processes, and advance internal and external collaboration. An experienced strategic partner can help an organization assess its current state and the opportunities for improvement across the care continuum.

  1. What are your organization’s strategic priorities over the next five years, and how will changes in the EHR enable the successful execution of that plan?

Clarifying your organization's long-term vision will help you make decisions about your EHR that align with enterprisewide objectives and principles. It’s important to include all stakeholders in this process to address concerns, issues, and desires at the front end. The expertise of an advisory partner can be valuable in guiding your team through this critical exercise.

  1. How will your organization improve operational models and enhance workflows with a revamped or new EHR platform?

Simply doing what you do today on a different platform will not achieve meaningful outcomes. To create better patient and provider experiences, reduce the cost of care, boost clinical and operational efficiencies, and enhance revenue cycle processes for a better bottom line, leaders must apply organizational changes that complement EHR improvements. Strategic partners who have extensive clinical, revenue cycle, and IT knowledge can help organizations examine new service lines and models of care, digital patient tools, and other initiatives that can help drive the overall EHR plan.

  1. How will your organization approach change leadership and management?

A thoughtful, comprehensive change leadership management plan is imperative for greater speed of adoption, utilization, and proficiency. While the EHR platform vendor will prioritize the design and implementation of the technology, healthcare leaders are responsible for ensuring their workforce is prepared, equipped, and supported in navigating new processes, job roles, and organizational structures. Resources for change management, and the organizational leaders actively engaged in leading change, must be weaved into the overall project governance plan from day one. A strategic advisor can work with you to develop a custom change leadership and management plan that covers the entire project lifecycle and includes elements such as:

  1. Do you have a robust analytics strategy to help execute your organizational goals?

Without a strong analytics strategy in place, simply moving to a new EHR may not be enough to advance your organization’s goals. A solid foundation — composed of a well-implemented governance structure, the appropriate tools to help minimize technical debt, the right people and skills, and a proven process for reporting intake, triage, and development — is necessary to fully realize the value of a new or existing EHR. Collaborating with an experienced partner for a careful review of your health system’s analytics foundation can help identify your strengths and the opportunities for enhancement independent of a given EHR.

At the start of developing your EHR crossroads strategy, as you decide whether to optimize your current EHR or transition to a new one, asking these questions will help your organization build the foundation for success. This process can help you avoid surprises, streamline decision-making, and get the most value out of your efforts, ensuring your organization realizes the benefits of strategic plan alignment.

Topics: featured, Performance Improvement

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